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PM Modi popular among Chinese citizens, gets unusual nickname

Washington: Despite the persistence of sour relations between India and China, Prime Minister Narendra Modi seems to be quite popular among Chinese citizens.
Writing for a US-based magazine, The Diplomat, author Mu Chunshan in his article - 'How is India viewed in China?' wrote that PM Modi is quite famous amongst Chinese netizens who have also given him an unusual nickname called "Modi Laoxian", which means "The Immortal". Laoxian notably refers to an elderly immortal with some weird abilities. The nickname implies that Chinese netizens think Modi is different - even more amazing - than other leaders, the author said in his article for The Diplomat.
Chinese perceptions of India, according to Mu's article, are quite complex but typically founded on a sense of superiority and self-confidence.
He added that the gap between the two South Asian neighbours - India and Pakistan - is "growing larger," and is an apparent allusion to the current political and economic collapse Pakistan is going through.
"The facts over the past nine years have proved that China and India have more room for cooperation. For example, China's trade with India is worth USD 115 billion a year - far more than China's trade with Pakistan, which sits at around USD 30 billion", Mu wrote in his article.
"Of course, China has not forgotten Pakistan. But many Chinese netizens have a realistic view of the two South Asian neighbours. The argument is very sober: The idea of using Pakistan to restrain India is becoming more unrealistic because the gap between Pakistan and India is getting wider", he added.
Despite Chinese views of India being very complicated, for a foreign leader like Modi to gain importance and popularity in China is an important point to be noted when the relations between the two countries are seen.
On India's relationships with other important nations, the author stated 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 "quite admirable" to certain Chinese internet users.
"I have been doing international media reports for nearly 20 years and it is rare for Chinese netizens to give a nickname to a foreign leader. Modi's nickname stands out above all others. Clearly he has made an impression on Chinese public opinion," the author wrote.
"One of my conclusions is, on the whole, the Chinese have no malice towards India, with one glaring exception: the border dispute. Once the border dispute is mentioned, most Chinese netizens become very angry. The perception is that India has besieged and contained China with the support of the West, joining the Quad for the same purpose," The Diplomat reported citing the author. (ANI)

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