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Modi isn't as popular as you think

Last updated on: September 03, 2015 17:52 IST

In Asia-Pacific's public eye, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is below Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japan’s Shinzo Abe, according to a survey

India is viewed favourably by 24 per cent Chinese. Photograph: Aly Song/Reuters

Thirty-nine per cent of Asians have confidence in Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's role on the world stage, according to a survey by The Pew Research Centre, a Washington-based think tank. In contrast, 47 per cent expressed confidence in Chinese President Xi Jinping, while 43 per cent have voiced confidence in Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Despite Modi's active foreign policy initiatives, the low numbers for him compared to his counterparts could reflect the respondents’ lack of familiarity with the Indian prime minister. The report says, "Overall, Modi suffers from a lack of recognition. A quarter or more of respondents in six of the nine countries surveyed voiced no opinion about him as a leader."

The report titled ‘How Asia-Pacific Publics See Each Other and Their National Leaders’ finds the prime minister's biggest supporters are in Vietnam (56 per cent) and Australia (51 per cent). But given the troubled relationship with Pakistan, only seven per cent of Pakistanis have confidence in Modi, with roughly half expressing no confidence at all. The numbers are lower in the old-age group.

Based on a sample size of 15,313 in 10 Asia-Pacific nations and the United States, the report shows a median of 51 per cent of those surveyed have a favourable view of India. In contrast, 71 per cent in the region have a favourable view of Japan, while a median of 57 per cent view China in favourable light.

India is viewed more favourably by the Vietnamese (66 per cent), followed closely by the South Koreans (64 per cent) and Japanese (63 per cent). The figures for China and Pakistan are lower at 24 per cent and 16 per cent, respectively. In comparison, 41 per cent of Indians view China favourably. The study finds older Pakistanis (80 per cent) are most critical of India. The report says, "These are people who experienced, or whose parents experienced, the traumatic 1947 partition of India and Pakistan."

In comparison, 63 per cent of Americans hold a favourable opinion of India.

The younger generations in these countries are "quite enamoured with India". Roughly seven-in-10 Vietnamese in the age group of 18-29 view India favourably. The situation is the same with young Americans, 77 per cent of whom view India favourably.

 

 

Ishan Bakshi in New Delhi
Source: