(Bloomberg) — About eight in ten Indians have a favorable view of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and most of them see the South Asian country’s global influence strengthening in recent years, according to a report by the Pew Research Center.
The survey found that 55% have a very favorable view of the Modi, who has been in power since 2014 and is seeking a third term in national elections scheduled for next summer. Just a fifth have a negative view of the leader, according to the report released Tuesday ahead of the Group of 20 leaders’ summit in New Delhi next month.
“Those who support the governing parties in the National Democratic Alliance are much more likely to say India’s influence is on the rise,” Pew said in the report in reference to a coalition Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party leads. “Men, too, are more likely than women to believe India is getting stronger on the world stage.”
Around seven in ten Indians said the nation’s influence in recent years have been growing stronger while less than a fifth think it is getting weaker.
Russia’s war in Ukraine has turned India into a prominent swing nation. It has maintained close ties with the US but abstained from votes at the United Nations to condemn the conflict and avoided joining US-led sanctions against Russia, which remains a major supplier of weapons and cheap energy.
India has also positioned itself as a bulwark against China’s economic and military assertiveness in Asia. Officials in New Delhi have drawn some pledges of technology transfers from the US and its allies looking to secure weapons contracts.
The survey found 65% of the Indian respondents see the US more favorably while four in ten believe that Russia’s global influence has strengthened. India stands out as the only one of the 24 nations surveyed this year where a majority have a favorable opinion of Russia and have confidence in President Vladimir Putin, Pew said.
India-China ties remain on edge since a Himalayan border conflict began more than three years ago. Several rounds of talks involving military and diplomatic officials have made little progress and India has gone on to ban Chinese mobile apps and curtailed investment.
Days before the G-20 summit in India, China published an official map claiming Indian territory in the Himalayas, an action prompting New Delhi to lodge a diplomatic protest.
“In India, negative views of China have also reached historic highs since the country was last surveyed in 2019,” Pew said. “Two-thirds of Indians express an unfavorable opinion of China, making India the only middle-income country where a majority has unfavorable views of China.”
Here are some other details from the survey:
- Approximately 57% of Indians surveyed have a favorable opinion of Russia.
- Favorable views of India have dropped by roughly 10 percentage points in five European countries.
- About 40% of the Indians surveyed believe the global influence of the UK, Germany and France stayed about the same in recent years.
The survey was carried out with 2,611 Indians between March 25 and May 11, Pew said.
(Updates with India lodging diplomatic protest in paragraph nine. An earlier version corrected paragraph two to make clear survey was published on Tuesday.)
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