PM Modi is well-liked online in China and is known as "Modi the immortal"

PM Modi is well-liked online in China

According to an article in the US-based strategic affairs magazine The Diplomat, Chinese internet users respectfully refer to Prime Minister Narendra Modi as "Modi Laoxian," which means "Modi the immortal," despite the bitter India-China border dispute.

The majority of Chinese believe that India, led by Modi, can keep a balance among major nations in the world, according to Mu Chunshan, a journalist well-known for analyzing Chinese social media, particularly Sina Weibo (China's version of Twitter). There are over 582 million daily users on Sina Weibo. "On the Chinese internet, Prime Minister Narendra Modi goes by the odd moniker Modi Laoxian. Laoxian is a a seasoned immortal with peculiar powers.

According to him, the moniker suggests that Chinese internet users believe Modi to be unique and even more remarkable than other world leaders. They cite both his attire and outward look, which are viewed as Laoxian-like, and some of his policies, which are distinct from those of earlier India, Mu said. Regarding India's relationships with other important nations, he said that whether it is Russia, the United States, or countries in the Global South, India can have amicable relations with all of them, which is "very admirable" to some Chinese internet users. As a result, Mu wrote, "the word 'Laoxian' represents the complicated sentiment of Chinese people toward Modi, combining curiosity, astonishment, and perhaps a dash of cynicism.

"For nearly 20 years, I have been reporting for the foreign media, and Chinese internet users rarely refer to foreign leaders by their nicknames. Modi's moniker sticks out more than any other. He has undoubtedly had an impact on Chinese popular opinion, he said. Since taking office in 2014, Modi has hosted Chinese President Xi Jinping and former Premier Li Keqiang in addition to holding two extremely unusual informal summits with the 69-year-old leader in Wuhan and later in Mamallapuram, a city close to Chennai. These meetings raised hopes for an improvement in ties between the two Asian superpowers.

Following the Chinese military's aggressive military actions in eastern Ladakh, which violated the agreements to settle the border dispute and resulted in a nearly three-year-long military standoff, Sino-Indian relations hit rock bottom. There have been 17 meetings between the two nations' top military leaders discussions to end the impasse. India has insisted that calm in the border regions is a prerequisite for normalizing relations with China. Due to his interactions with the Chinese people on Sina Weibo, which he launched in 2015 and had more than 2.44 lakh followers, Modi is also well-known in China. To convey a "strong message at the border, on the economic front, and at a personal level too," according to BJP General Secretary (Organization) B L Santhosh, the Indian government decided to ban 59 Chinese Apps in July 2020. He then left Weibo.

Chinese perceptions of India, according to Mu's article, are very complex but typically founded on a sense of superiority and self-confidence. It's significant that he says China's efforts to use Pakistan as its "all-weather ally" are seen as "unrealistic" by Chinese internet users because the gap between the two South Asian neighbors is "getting wider," which is ostensibly a reference to the political and economic collapse Pakistan is currently going through. "The evidence over the last nine years has shown that there is more space for cooperation between China and India. For instance, China has annual trade with India of $115 billion, which is significantly more than China's annual trade with Pakistan of $30 billion, according to Mu.

Of course, China is still thinking about Pakistan. However, a lot of Chinese internet users hold a practical opinion of the two South Asian neighbors. The point is very serious: As the distance between Pakistan and India widens, it becomes increasingly unrealistic to use Pakistan to restrain India the gap between Pakistan and India is growing, he said. He also discusses Chinese concerns over India's rising standing among western nations, particularly the US, and New Delhi's handling of the Ukraine crisis without jeopardizing its close links to both Russia and the US.

"This is just one illustration of a widely held belief in China that China has become the focus of the West while India is the preferred country of the West. How did India pull this off? Chinese internet users debated the reason behind India's extensive network of acquaintances abroad. According to the article, the majority of Chinese people believe China and India can still cooperate despite their feeling of superiority and self-confidence toward India. Of course, the majority of Chinese people don't like it when India gets too close to the United States.

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