New Delhi: Chinese Premier Li Qiang on Tuesday sent a congratulatory message to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the beginning of his third term, though there was no immediate response from the Indian side.

China’s Premier Li Qiang delivers his speech(AFP file)

According to state-run Xinhua news agency, Li said the sound and steady development of China-India relations is not “only conducive to the well-being of the two peoples but also injects stability and positive energy into the region and the world”.

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Li also said China is willing to work with India to “push forward bilateral relations in the right direction”.

Observers had noted that China’s top leadership had not sent any congratulatory message to Modi even after he had received messages from countries around the world.

On Saturday, external affairs ministry spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal responded to a congratulatory message from his Chinese counterpart by saying that India will make efforts to normalise ties with China on the basis of “mutual respect, mutual interest and mutual sensitivity”.

“Thank you @MFA_China for congratulating PM @narendramodi on his election victory. Will continue to pursue efforts towards normalisation of India-China ties based on mutual respect, mutual interest and mutual sensitivity,” Jaiswal said in a post on X.

India-China ties are currently at their lowest ebb because of the military standoff in Ladakh sector of the Line of Actual Control (LAC), which began in May 2020 and is currently into its fifth year. The Indian side has consistently said the overall bilateral relationship cannot be normalised without peace and tranquillity on the border.

The Chinese side, on the other hand, has called for putting the border issue in its “appropriate place” in the overall relationship, while the two sides take forward ties in other areas such as trade and investment. Despite dozens of rounds of diplomatic and military talks, the two sides haven’t been able to address major “friction points” on the LAC such as Depsang and Demchok.

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