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Indian PM Narendra Modi congratulates Xi Jinping on re-election as leaders vow to fix fraught ties

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi called Chinese President Xi Jingping on Tuesday to congratulate him on being re-elected, with both leaders vowing to work more closely to fix fraught ties.

China’s parliament unanimously handed Xi a second term earlier this week, and cleared the path for him to rule the country indefinitely.

Chinese President Xi Jinping

Chinese President Xi Jinping votes during the closing session of the National People’s Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on March 20, 2018. Photo: Nicolas Asfouri/AFP.

The diplomatic phone call comes at a time when relations between India and China have been tense after a tense border standoff last year.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a telephone call today to H. E. Mr. Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China, to congratulate him on his re-election,” a government statement said late Tuesday.

“The two leaders agreed that as two major powers growing rapidly, bilateral relations between India and China are vital.”

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

Xi Jinping Narendra Modi

Xi Jinping and Narendra Modi. Photo: Russian Presidential Press and Information Office via Wikimedia Commons.

Hundreds of Indian and Chinese troops faced off last June on the Doklam plateau, a small strip close to the intersection between China, India and Bhutan.

The two nations finally pulled back their troops from the disputed border area after more than two months in a stand-off, averting a full-blown crisis.

Last month, Beijing lodged an angry protest against New Delhi over a trip by Modi to the northeast Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, also claimed by China.

Arunachal Pradesh is a strategically important border district and came briefly under Chinese control during the 1962 war between the neighbours.

Indian PM Narendra Modi congratulates Xi Jinping on re-election as leaders vow to fix fraught ties