Are ties between India and China like the race between a hare and tortoise? On Sunday, this question was the top discussion gathering votes on the website of the mouthpiece of the Communist Party of China.
The state-run Chinese media has ignored India’s suspension of military ties after Beijing denied a visa to a top Indian army commander.
But on Sunday, a mention of the news popped up on an online forum of the People’s Daily, the Party newspaper, with a headline indicating that the Indian media was overreacting. “Again, Indian media crying rift with China,’’ it said. A summary of the visa dispute ended with the comment that ‘military exchanges must be based on mutual understanding and respect. Perhaps India would agree that one never invites a potential trouble into his house’.
On Sunday, the People’s Daily forum asked netizens to vote whether the relation between India and China is like the race between a hare and a tortoise. By Sunday evening the post had over 260 views and 80 per cent of 18 participants had voted yes.
China’s official editorials have been largely silent compared to the anti-India rhetoric during bilateral tensions last year.
Chinese analysts at official thinktanks are not available for comments. The foreign ministry has not responded to the Ministry of External Affairs’ statement asking China to be sensitive to mutual concerns.
But on the sidelines, the Party’s Internet monitors encourage Chinese netizens to pump up nationalistic rhetoric and sustain a domestic opinion that India is a rival seeking regional hegemony, not a partner. The day the news broke in New Delhi, a member of the People’s Daily forum began a discussion asking how likely is China’s launch of a war against India. By Sunday evening, 36 gave it a thumbs-up, and 56 voted a thumbs-down. Other August posts included votes on India’s border deployment ‘to contain China’ and Prime Minister’s Manmohan Singh’s meeting with the Dalai Lama.
In July, a post asked votes ‘why India’s military continues to make purchases beyond its national strength’. About 40.38 per cent users said ‘India holds a strong ambition to beat China,’ and 21.15 per cent said India is ‘seeking regional hegemony’.