New Chinese Premier Li assures Indian PM of seeking closer ties

Li KeqiangHours after his official appointment, China's new Premier Li Keqiang told Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that Beijing would like to take strategic cooperation and partnership with New Delhi to a "new stage".

China ''as always, will attach great importance to its ties with India, and would like to work with it to promote their relations of strategic cooperation and partnership to a new stage," state-run Xinhua news agency quoted Li as telling Singh over the phone.

Li, an English-speaking bureaucrat and said to be a reformist, was on Friday elected as the Premier of the world's second largest economy by about 3,000 deputies of the National People's Congress.

Thanking Singh for congratulating him, Li said China and India are the two largest Asian powers and developing nations, which are also two ancient civilisations and emerging economies.

Li said by enhancing their cooperation, the two countries can expand their space for development, and increase common interests so as to facilitate a sustainable economic and social development and help the world order and system advance in a just and reasonable direction.

"This will promote better livelihood for more than two billion people in the two countries, which bears a great significance for the whole world," he told Singh.

Singh said that bilateral ties over the past few years have seen a comprehensive development and continuous progress in cooperation and exchanges in various fields, Xinhua reported.

Li, who is ranked second after the President Xi Jinping in the new leadership structure of the ruling Communist Party of China, said that the world has enough room for both India and China to realise their common goals for development.

Prime Minister Singh expressed satisfaction with the progress in bilateral relations in recent years.

He said India is willing to work with the new Chinese leadership to explore the potential for mutually beneficial cooperation and make even greater achievement in bilateral ties so that the two countries could set an example for state-to-state relations in the 21st century.

The Indian Prime Minister is due to meet President Xi during the BRICS summit due to be held in Durban in South Africa on 26-27 March, which will be the first high-level meeting between the two countries after the new leadership came to power in Beijing.