Anti-Chinese feelings are running high across the country after bloody border clashes between the nuclear armed neighbours left 20 Indian soldiers dead. Winnie the Pooh is banned in China because of the cartoon character’s perceived visual resemblance to the cuddly cartoon character.
Images of Winnie the Pooh have also been recently by used to taunt the President Xi by pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.
Mr Xi is rumoured to have personally ordered censorship of the character in 2013 and films and books featuring the bear have been banned.
And Indians have flooded Twitter with critical posts using the hashtag #WinnieThePooh.
One Indian Twitter user wrote: “Is everything alright with #winniethePooh.”
Another said: “You don’t want war. Go to china and say #WinnieThePooh we don’t war.”
A third wrote: “Xi Jingping, China’s president doesn’t like to be compared with Winnie the pooh so let us annoy him by trending this #XithePooh.”
A wave of anger has swept across India this week after a tense six-week stand-off a the remote Himalayan border between the two countries boiled over into violence on Monday night when soldiers from the Chinese People’s Liberation Army attacked Indian troops with iron rods, nail-studded bamboo clubs, barbed wire and rocks.
READ MORE: World War 3 fears: India sends more troops to China border
The clashes left 20 Indian soldiers dead and there were allegations their bodies were mutilated and tossed into a freezing river by their Chinese attackers.
Satellite images suggest that in the days leading up to the clash, China brought in heavy machinery, cut a trail into the mountainside and may have even dammed a river.
Both sides have moved extra troops onto the volatile Galwan Valley and are setting up significant strategic positions amid fears of further escalations.
Prime minister Narendra Modi is coming under increasing pressure to strike back at China after the slaughter of 20 soldiers in the hand-to-hand clashes.
Furious members of Mr Modi’s nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are calling for the annexation of China-controlled territory in Aksai Chin, the easternmost part of the disputed Ladakh region.
Defence expert Ajai Shukla said: “Such barbarism must be condemned. This is thuggery, not soldiering.”
Jamyang Tsering Namgyal, MP for the region of Ladakh, said: “We want a one-time solution.
“Not just the people of Ladakh but people of the country too want a one-time solution.
“After the sacrifice of our soldiers, I am starting to think the time has come to take Aksai Chin back.”
Tension with China, whose economy is five times bigger than India’s and which spends three times as much money on its military, has become Mr Modi’s most serious foreign policy challenge since he took power in 2014.
A strident nationalist, Mr Modi was elected to a second five-year term in May 2019 following a campaign focused on national security after spiralling tensions with Pakistan, on India’s western border.
He is now under immense pressure from the opposition and media to respond strongly to China.