In an unusually fulsome opinion piece, a Chinese state media editorial on Tuesday said National Democratic Alliance (NDA) leader Narendra Modi’s victory was the result of his promise of economic reforms, the pledge to tackle corruption and sharp focus on development.
Comparing Modi’s focus on development to China’s own experience with reform and economic growth in the 1970s that led to its industrial miracle, the editorial in the influential state-run China Daily newspaper said India could experience a similar trajectory.
Not only the editorial, the newspaper’s lead story on page one was also on Modi, titled: “Modi to boost ties with China”.
“A similar belief in and focus on development has brought China where it is today, and such a commitment to development can create an economic miracle next door in the world's second most-populous country,” the China Daily editorial said.
The editorial was carried under the headline “Congratulations to Modi” with sub-headline, saying: “Our best wishes to the people of India and their new, reform-minded prime minister”.
“The sweeping victory of Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party in India's elections was the outcome of Modi's promise of reforms and credentials as an efficient doer in the State of Gujarat,” it said in the introduction.
The editorial said: “A purveyor of dreams in some people's eyes, the campaigning Modi pledged to end policy paralysis, reduce inflation and tackle corruption, some of the most outstanding stumbling blocks on India's way ahead. His pragmatic economic blueprint has been so tantalising to the market that it has reportedly boosted Indian stocks by 15 percent so far this year. The Indian rupee, too, has gained considerably.”
Of course, the editorial attempted to correct what the newspaper thought were certain wrong comparisons that were being made.
“Modi is not ‘India's Deng Xiaoping’, as some have called him, nor is Gujarat, the state which has spearheaded Indian GDP growth with him behind the helm, ‘India's Guangdong'”.
But it added: "Yet as two developing countries pestered by wealth and development gaps, China and India can work together when it comes to development.”
Another editorial in the nationalistic Global Times newspaper said: “India's economy is expected to embark on a road of reform and Modi will promote infrastructure development as he did when serving as chief minister of Gujarat for 12 years, which has become a strong aspiration of India's mainstream society.”
Interestingly, why both state-controlled English dailies have praised Modi and his development plank, there is little mention of him or the Indian election in the more widely-followed Chinese newspapers, magazines and television channels.
Meanwhile, State Councillor Yang Jiechi on Tuesday reiterated that the Chinese government was ready to work closely with the Indian government to enhance strategic and cooperative partnership and take it to a higher level. Yang told this to the Indian Ambassador Ashok K Kantha during a meeting on Tuesday.