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Indian PM Invites Chinese President for Visit

India's new Prime Minister Narendra Modi (C) gestures during his arrival at the Prime Minister's Office at South Block in New Delhi on May 27, 2014.
India's new prime minister, Narendra Modi, has invited Chinese President Xi Jinping to visit India later this year.

The Indian Ministry of External Affairs said Chinese Premier Li Keqiang telephoned Modi on Thursday to congratulate him on his victory in the recent national elections.

The ministry says Premier Li conveyed the Chinese government's desire to establish a "robust partnership" with the new Indian government.

In turn, Modi noted that China was "always a priority" in India's foreign policy and that he is keen to work closely with Chinese leadership to deal with any "outstanding issues" in bilateral relations.

Efforts to resolve a decades-old border dispute have failed despite numerous rounds of talks between the two Asian giants. Last year, tensions flared amid Indian allegations that Chinese troops had trespassed into India in the Ladakh region. Beijing denied the incursion. The two countries fought a brief war in 1962.

While trade between India and China is booming, New Delhi runs a more than $30 billion trade deficit with Beijing.

During Thursday's telephone call, the ministry says Modi extended an invitation for President Xi to visit India in the coming months.

Modi was sworn in as India's new prime minister on Monday. He led the Bharatiya Janata Party to a landslide victory against the Congress Party giving the BJP the first one-party majority in parliament in 30 years.