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Indifferent about India?

modi w

India’s prime minister-elect is getting a lot of international media coverage. But one country that has largely avoided discussion of Narendra Modi’s triumph is China. In the week since Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party were declared winners of India’s elections, very little has been written on what his victory means for Sino-Indian relations.

Why is that? One explanation is that China’s media tempers its election coverage so as not to ignite discussion of elections and voting at home. But the main reason is that China has very little cultural, political or economic interest in its giant Asian neighbour. The Beijing Youth Daily, one of the few media outlets to mention the future of China’s relations with India under Modi, was optimistic about his prospects but short of information on the new leader. It mentioned that as Chief Minister of Gujarat he had visited China four times and that Modi seemed to be pragmatic in nature. But it offered very little else.

Internet portal NetEase then cautioned that Modi has a reputation as a nationalist and a hardliner – and that this may make resolution of China’s border disputes with India more difficult.

But in spite of achieving the first outright electoral majority in three decades, Modi’s win was hardly mentioned by the rest of the Chinese press.


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