Modi, Xi discuss efforts to deepen ties

[ K J M Varma ]
BEIJING/NEW DELHI, Mar 20: Prime Minister Narendra Modi today congratulated Chinese President Xi Jinping over phone on his re-election for another five years and discussed efforts by both the countries to enhance high-level exchanges and deepen bilateral cooperation.
Modi is perhaps the first foreign leader to have spoken to Xi as the Chinese President began his second five-year term after his election by China’s Parliament, the National People’s Congress (NPC), which concluded its annual session today.
The two leaders held the telephonic conversation at Modi’s invitation, state-run Xinhua news agency reported, a day after the Indian Prime Minister congratulated Xi on Chinese social media.
Both India and China are ancient civilisations with global influence, Modi said, adding that 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 between the two countries and promote global and regional peace and development, according to the report.
Xi appreciated Modi’s congratulations, saying the just-concluded annual sessions of the NPC and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) have achieved great success.
Modi said that Xi’s re-election shows that he enjoys the support of the whole Chinese nation, the report said.
During the telephonic conversation, the two leaders agreed that as the two major powers grow rapidly, bilateral relations between India and China are vital for the realisation of 21st century as ‘Asian Century’, an official statement issued in New Delhi said.
The two leaders also agreed to continue their close consultations on regional and international issues of mutual interest, the statement said.
Xi briefed Modi on the annual sessions of the NPC and the CPPCC.
At the sessions, a new state leadership and leadership of the CPPCC National Committee were elected, important proposals such as constitutional amendments were approved, while a new round of institutional restructuring of the State Council (Cabinet) has started, Xi told Modi.
China will deepen its reform and opening up, he said, adding that China, while realising its own development, will make greater contribution to the common development and progress of the world, he said.
Modi, in his message posted on his account on the Chinese social media platform Weibo, had said: “Dear President Xi Jinping, congratulations on getting re-elected as the President of the People’s Republic of China.
“I look forward to working with you for further development of our bilateral relations”.
Last week, Xi was unanimously elected by the 2970 deputies of rubber-stamp Parliament, the National People’s Congress (NPC).
Xi, 64, now enjoying a life-long tenure, has emerged as the most powerful leader after Mao Zedong as he headed the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC), the military and the Presidency.
India and China are currently making diplomatic efforts to improve the relations in the aftermath of the 73-day long standoff at Dokalam in Sikkim section.
While Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale visited Beijing recently and held talks with top-level Chinese officials, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman recently said she planned to visit China next month.
Modi and Xi are expected to meet this year on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit to be held in June this year at the Chinese city of Qingdao. (PTI)