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China's new premier calls up PM; stresses on co-operation

March 15, 2013 19:59 IST

Hours after he was elected as China's new Premier, Li Keqiang on Friday called up Prime Minister Manmohan Singh saying he was looking forward to strengthening bilateral relations.

Singh, while congratulating Li on his election, expressed his desire to work together with China's new leadership.

The prime minister expressed satisfaction with the progress in bilateral relations in recent years.

He also expressed confidence that bilateral ties will expand further in the years ahead, official sources here said.

The telephonic conversation happened hours after the 57-year-old Chinese leader was appointed Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China.

"Prime Minister Singh congratulated Mr Li on his appointment and expressed a desire to work together with him to realise the full potential of the relationship between India and China," a source said.

Premier Li thanked Prime Minister (Singh) and reaffirmed the significance of ties between India and China. He looked forward to working with Prime Minister to further strengthen our relations.

He noted that Prime Minister would have an opportunity to interact with the new leadership of China on the sidelines of the upcoming BRICS Summit in Durban, South Africa, later this month, the sources said.

China's new President Xi Jinping is scheduled to attend the BRICS Summit from March 26-27 where he will be joined by Singh.

The two leaders also emphasised the need for maintaining high-level exchanges.

They extended invitation to each other to pay bilateral visits at their earliest convenience.

"Both leaders gratefully accepted the invitation and looked forward to an early opportunity to interact," the source said.

In January, Xi, also the General Secretary of the ruling Communist Party, had written to Singh, assuring that his country would pay "great importance" to developing bilateral ties with India as their cooperation has brought "substantial benefits" to both sides.

"China will, as it has been doing, pay great importance to developing relations with India and expects to carry out close cooperation with India to create a brighter future of their bilateral relations," Xi had said in a letter to Singh.

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