South Asian in-laws here.
When DH and I decided that he would relocate to start our life together in the US, I made a trip to meet his parents as a gesture of respect. It was actually kind of humorous and sweet, because the two of them got in a squabble about what I should call them. He wanted me to say “Ma and Baba”, but she didn’t feel that was exactly appropriate until our Hindu wedding ceremony (not till May 2009) so I actually call them Auntie and Uncle.
They have always treated me well. DH is a little nutty about “protecting” me from them, he seems frightened all the time that if he doesn’t constantly mediate between us I’ll start hating them or they will start hating me. I know I’m not what they wanted as a DiL. They are not unkind people, but like many Indians of their generation, they hoped to arrange marriages for their children, just as marriages were arranged for them.
The effort to match is so minute that his father and mother are not only of the same ethnicity, language, religion, caste, sub-caste and career orientation, their two families come from the same area, have the same range of skin tone, and as a kicker, his mother was born with the same last name as his father. I’m a white American Neopagan, don’t speak Bengali, older than him (not done) OK, a lot older than him (never done!) and partially physically disabled (So why would he want ME?). And I’ve taken their son literally as far away as he could get on earth just when they are facing old age. I understand why the situation is hard for them, and I have compassion for them. I also think our relationship will grow closer after the babies come and DH feels more secure.
I exist pretty low on the drama meter, and I very much rely on a mindset of relaxed respect being a two way street. I let them have control of things that do me and my own little family no harm, like making all the decisions for our Hindu marriage celebrations, and keep personal control of things that could harm, like how to discipline my kids. They do offer far to much, and to strong of advice on personal issues like healthcare, religion, etc... but I keep in mind that it is only them treating me just as they would their own child in their own culture, so I give them gratitude and affection for caring so much about me, then tell them I've made the decision that works for me and won't change.
I would very much like to spend part of my kids childhood living in India to give them advantages in language, self-identity, and a sense of global community, so I remain motivated to build and maintain the best relationship possible with ILs.