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China, John Kerry pick up the phone, reach out to Narendra Modi government

Friday, 30 May 2014 - 6:40am IST | Agency: dna

After Narendra Modi's diplomatic master stroke of bringing in whole of south Asia, including Pakistan, together at his swearing-in ceremony as India's prime minister, world leaders are making a beeline to strike an early conversation with India.

While Modi had his first telephonic interaction since taking over as PM with China's Premier Li Keqiang on Thursday afternoon, India's foreign minister Sushma Swaraj had important conversation with her counterparts of seven countries — the US, UK, Australia, Canada, Israel, South Africa and UAE since late on Wednesday.

China's prime minister Li Keqiang called up Modi in the afternoon to congratulate him and batted for a robust partnership with the new Indian government. In his interaction with Modi, Li conveyed the "Chinese government's desire to establish robust partnership with the new government of India for further development of relations between the two nations".

Thanking Li for his wishes, Modi said that China was always a priority in India's foreign policy and underlined his government's resolve to utilise the full potential of the "strategic and cooperative partnership with China".

Modi conveyed his desire to work closely with the Chinese leadership to deal with outstanding issues in bilateral relations and welcomed greater economic engagement between the two countries. Besides, he also extended an invitation to Chinese President Xi Jinping through Li to visit India later this year.

The conversation will be followed by China's foreign minister Wang Yi's visit to India on June 8. Modi appears to develop a good relationship with China; as Gujarat's chief minister, he had visited China four times, which explains why a fair percentage of China's investments in India go to Gujarat.

Among the other world leaders who established contact with the new government was US secretary of state John Kerry, who called external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj. Kerry was the first foreign leader to chat with Swaraj on the phone when they spoke late on Wednesday night.

Kerry told Swaraj that the, "US looked forward to re-energize ties with India" and the two discussed enhancing bilateral trade from the current $100 billion to $500 billion.

Kerry's call assumes significance due to a recent frost that had gathered between Indo-US bilateral relations and also due to Modi's visa issue. Swaraj, on her part, conveyed to Kerry that India placed importance on its strategic partnership with the US.

Besides Kerry, Swaraj had a series of telephonic conversations with her counterparts from Australia, Canada, Israel, South Africa, UAE and the UK. Improving trade relations was the central point of most of her conversations.

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