New Delhi: Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Thursday spoke to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the phone and conveyed his government’s desire to establish a “robust partnership” with the new Indian government. According to a statement released by the external affairs ministry, Li also congratulated Modi on his victory in the recent election.

Acknowledging that “China was always a priority in India’s foreign policy”, Modi underlined the Indian government’s resolve to “utilise the full potential of our strategic and cooperative partnership with China” and also welcomed “greater economic engagement” between the two nations. He also expressed his keenness to work closely with the Chinese leadership “to deal with any outstanding issues in both the countries’ bilateral relations by proceeding from the strategic perspective of our developmental goals and long-term benefits to our peoples”.

Modi also extended through Li an invitation to President Xi Jinping to pay a visit to India later this year. The prime minister’s telephonic conversation with Li was his first with a foreign head of government since taking charge.

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