The BJP’s landslide victory in state polls has “implications” for the Sino-India ties as it could further embolden Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “hard-line attitude” and pose difficulties for “compromises” in rows with countries like China, official Chinese media commented today.
“Modi recently led his Bharatiya Janata Party to a sweeping electoral victory in Uttar Pradesh, the country’s most-populous state, as well as garnering vigorous support in several other major state elections,” an op-ed in the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC)-run Global Times said.
In the first commentary by the Chinese state media after the polls, the article said the results, “not only increased Modi’s chance to win in India’s 2019 general elections, some even predict he is already set for a second term”.
“Since Beijing-New Delhi ties have recently entered a subtle and delicate phase, observers soon started to pay close attention to how the bilateral relationship will develop after Modi tightens his grip on power,” it said.
Describing Modi as “man of action” with “hard-line attitude”, the article said India’s domestic and international polices have undergone change under him.
On the international arena, he changed India’s policy not to offend anyone.
“Modi’s hard-line attitude is embodied in both his domestic policies, such as the ban on high-value currency notes, and in his diplomatic logic,” it said.
“In the international arena, he changed India’s previous attitude of trying never to offend anyone and started to take a clear stance in controversies among other nations to maximise its own interests. He enhanced New Delhi’s ties with China and Moscow and applied to be a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).”
“Yet he also upgraded defence collaboration with the US and Japan, articulated his support for the US rebalance to the Asia-Pacific strategy and Washington’s stance on the South China Sea issue,” it said.
“If Modi wins the next election, India’s current firm and tough manner is bound to continue. It will be without question good news for the country’s own development,” it said.
“Nevertheless, it will likely mean more difficulties in making compromises in rows with other countries. Take the border disputes between Beijing and New Delhi. No silver lining has yet emerged and Modi demonstrated his firm stance over the issue by celebrating Diwali, India’s biggest holiday, with soldiers at the Sino-India border,” it said.
“But while seeming inflexible on the surface, hard-liners also have powerful strength in coming to an agreement with others once they make up their mind, given their executive ability and high efficiency,” it said.
“That said, we can still be optimistic in resolving our divergences, including border disputes, with New Delhi during Modi’s term as long as both sides are willing,” it said.
“For China, it is also an opportunity to give more consideration over how to make breakthroughs in Beijing-New Delhi relations with a hard-line Indian government,” the article said.
Last year, the Sino-China ties were bogged down over difference on India’s admission into Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), UN ban on JeM leader Masood Azhar and construction of USD 46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
This year began on a positive note, with both sides holding an upgraded Strategic Dialogue covering almost all aspects of the relations which both sides termed as very positive.