On the second day of his trip to China, Prime Minister Narendra Modi went viral.
Shortly after presiding over a stunning joint demonstration of yoga and Chinese Tai chi at the iconic Temple of Heaven, Modi snapped a selfie with his counterpart Li Keqiang.
Within four hours of posting the photograph on his recently opened account on Chinese Twitter equivalent Sina Weibo - where Modi already has close to 100,000 followers in less than one week - the selfie of the two PMs had been reposted close to 40,000 times, becoming a top trending story on Chinese social media. This was incidentally, as Chinese bloggers noted, a first ever selfie of the Chinese PM.
It's selfie time! Thanks Premier Li. pic.twitter.com/DSCTszSnq3Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) May 15, 2015
The yoga-Tai chi demonstration, involving 400 young practitioners, also generated rave reviews from the Chinese media present, suggesting at least on the public diplomacy front, the PM's China visit has struck the right note even as both countries continue to grapple with thorny diplomatic issues.
A Chinese commentary on Friday authored by strategic expert Liu Zongyi suggested Modi "may become a Nixon-style statesman", referring to the US leader's path-breaking China visit, "because of his pragmatism and capacity to resolve major contradictions between China and India".
The official Xinhua news agency in a commentary said India-China relations had "taken on a new look", with Xi hosting a visiting leader for the first time outside of Beijing in his home province "an unusual departure from normal protocol" that was "a sign that both countries are eager to bridge the challenges and strengthen bilateral relations".
The Party-run Global Times in an editorial said Modi's visit had "given a push" to bilateral relations. "It is obvious that the Western elite doesn't want to see India and China drawing closer to each other," the editorial said, "because it will confront their vision for Asia's future."
(In association with Mail Today)
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