New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi called up Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday to congratulate him on his re-election for a second five-year term, the Indian foreign ministry said.
The telephone conversation comes as the two countries are looking to mend ties rocked by their 73-day military standoff on the Doklam plateau in Bhutan last year.
It also came a day after Modi congratulated Xi on Chinese social media platform Weibo.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a telephone call today to Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China, to congratulate him on his re-election as the president,” a statement from the Indian foreign ministry said.
“The two leaders agreed that as two major powers growing rapidly, bilateral relations between India and China are vital for the realization of the 21st century as an ‘Asian Century’,” the statement said. “The two leaders also agreed to continue their close consultations on regional and international issues of mutual interest,” it added.
A Xinhua news agency report said that Modi had said that Xi’s re-election shows that he enjoys the support of the whole Chinese nation.
Last week, Xi was unanimously elected by the 2,970 deputies of the National People’s Congress (NPC). The NPC also removed a two-term limit on Xi staying on as president of China.
Xi, 64, can now enjoy a lifelong tenure as president. He has emerged as the most powerful leader after Mao Zedong as he heads the ruling Communist Party of China, the military and the presidency.
India and China are currently making diplomatic efforts to improve relations in the aftermath of the Dokalam standoff. Foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale visited Beijing last month and held talks with top-level Chinese officials.
Both defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman and external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj are scheduled 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 in the Chinese city of Qingdao, besides the G20 summit in Argentina and the BRICS summit in South Africa.