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Premier Li calls, Modi says China is priority

Last updated on: May 29, 2014 18:28 IST

Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang on Thursday conveyed his government's desire to establish robust partnership with the new government during a call to his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi, who expressed keenness to work closely to deal with any "outstanding issues".

The call by Li, the first foreign head of government to call up Modi since he took over as the prime minister, came after China's decision on Wednesday to send its Foreign Minister Wang Yi on June 8 as special envoy to meet the new leadership including External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.

During the 25-minute telephonic conversation, Li conveyed Chinese government's desire to establish robust partnership with the new Indian government for further development of relations between the two nations, the spokesperson in the external affairs ministry said.

Modi, on his part, noted that China was always a "priority" in India's foreign policy and welcomed greater economic engagement between the two countries.

Modi 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".

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

China has officially conveyed its decision to send Wang, a seasoned diplomat, to greet Modi and interact with other leaders in his council of ministers.

Modi also thanked Li for his earlier message of felicitations and extended an invitation through him to President Xi Jinping to pay a visit to India later this year.

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 councilor and Special Representative for the border dispute Yang Jiechi.

Li had also formally greeted Modi immediately after he was sworn-in as the 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 has already conveyed its interest in having a top Indian leader attend the 60th anniversary of Panchasheel, the five principles enunciated jointly by former PM Jawaharlal Nehru and his then Chinese counterpart Zhou Enlai in 1954.

The Chinese government is hosting a function to mark the occasion on June 28 in which high level delegation from Myanmar, which too was associated with Panchasheel concept, is expected to participate.

Xi and Modi will have an opportunity to meet during the next BRICS, (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) to be held in Brazil in July.

Image: Chinese Premier Li Keqiang called up PM Narendra Modi on Thursday

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