Chinese PM Li Keqiang phones Narendra Modi, seeks robust partnership

After surprising everyone by inviting leaders from SAARC countries on the occasion of his swearing-in ceremony, Prime Minister Narendra Modi engaged in “telephone diplomacy” with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.

Zee Media Bureau

New Delhi: After surprising everyone by inviting leaders from SAARC countries on the occasion of his swearing-in ceremony, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday engaged in “telephone diplomacy” with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.

According to the Ministry of External Affairs, the two leaders discussed “high-level interactions”.

Li, who is the first foreign Head of Government to telephone Modi since he took over as Prime Minister, congratulated him on his victory in the recent General Elections.
During the 25-minute telephonic conversation, Li conveyed to Modi that China desires to establish robust partnership with the new government of India for further development of relations between the two nations.

Modi, on his part, noted that China was always a priority in India`s foreign policy.

Thanking Li for his earlier message of felicitations, he underlined his government`s resolve to utilise the full potential of "our strategic and cooperative partnership with China and his keenness to work closely with the Chinese leadership to deal with any outstanding issues in bilateral relations by proceeding from the strategic perspective of our developmental goals and long-term benefits to our peoples".

Modi also welcomed greater economic engagement between the two countries.

The two leaders agreed to maintain frequent high-level exchanges and communication.

Modi extended through Premier Li an invitation to President Xi Jinping to pay a visit to India later this year.
Li`s phone call to Modi came after the Chinese government`s decision to send its Foreign Minister Wang Yi on June 8 as special envoy to meet the new Indian Prime Minister and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.

Earlier, China had congratulated Modi soon after the poll results were announced.

China had formally greeted Modi and sent a special message through Indian Ambassador to Beijing Ashok K Kantha during his meetings with Wang and State Councillor and Special Representative for the border dispute Yang Jiechi.

Li had also formally greeted Modi immediately after he was sworn-in as Prime Minister, saying China viewed India as a "natural cooperative partner" and was ready to work with the new Indian government to take their strategic cooperative partnership to a "new level".

"China and India are important neighbours to each other and the top two emerging markets in the world. China-India relations have moved beyond the bilateral scope and taken on global and strategic significance," he said.

Modi held bilateral talks with eight leaders of neighbouring countries, including Pakistan, a day after he took oath as India`s Prime Minister.

(With Agency inputs)

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