China ready to enhance communication with India to promote trust, Xi Jinping tells Modi
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China ready to enhance communication with India to promote trust, Xi Jinping tells Modi

Xi Jinping, who was re-elected as the President for life, spoke with Modi on telephone

india Updated: Mar 20, 2018 23:13 IST
HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Xi Jinping Modi,President Xi Jinping,India China bilateral ties
Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the 2017 BRICS Summit in Xiamen, China. (Reuters File Photo)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping on Tuesday discussed the need to strengthen cooperation in international affairs, saying relations between India and China are key to the realisation of an “Asian Century”.

Relations between the two countries were tense following last year’s military standoff at Doklam near the Sikkim border though both sides have made efforts in recent weeks to improve their ties.

Modi congratulated Xi over phone on his re-election for another five years by the National People’s Congress (NPC), China’s Parliament, and discussed efforts by both countries to enhance high-level exchanges and deepen bilateral cooperation.

“The two leaders agreed that as two major powers growing rapidly, bilateral relations between India and China are vital for the realisation of 21st Century as ‘Asian Century’,” said a statement from Modi’s office.

“The two leaders also agreed to continue their close consultations on regional and international issues of mutual interest,” it added.

India will work with China to “enhance high-level exchanges, deepen bilateral ties, strengthen coordination and cooperation in international affairs to further a closer developmental partnership”, Modi was quoted as saying by China’s state-run Xinhua news agency.

Such cooperation will “promote global and regional peace and development”, Modi added.

“China will deepen its reform and opening up,” Xi said, according to Xinhua. China will also make greater contributions to the common development and progress of the world, he added.

Modi was perhaps the first world leader to speak to Xi after the NPC ratified a constitutional amendment removing the two-term presidential limit, paving the way for the president to remain in power for life.

The leaders held the telephone conversation at Modi’s invitation, Xinhua reported, a day after the Indian premier congratulated Xi on the Chinese social media platform Weibo. Xi appreciated Modi’s congratulations, saying the annual sessions of the NPC had achieved great success.

At the start of the NPC session, foreign minister Wang Yi had struck a conciliatory tone by saying that the “Chinese dragon and Indian elephant must not fight each other but dance with each other”. He had also told a news conference on March 8 that the two sides should shed their “mental inhibitions” to manage differences and meet each other half way to strengthen ties.

Foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale visited China in February for talks aimed at normalising relations in the aftermath of the 73-day face-off at Doklam. China also withdrew its objection to Pakistan being put on the Financial Action Task Force’s watchlist last month for not doing enough to counter terror financing.

Modi and Xi are expected to meet on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit in the Chinese city of Qingdao in June.

First Published: Mar 20, 2018 18:07 IST