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China impressed by Modi’s praise for New Delhi-Beijing ties at Shangri-La Dialogue

By Shubham

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's praise for India-China relations in his keynote speech at the 17th edition of the high-profile Shangri-La Dialogue (SLD) on Friday, June 1, left a lasting impression on the Chinese.

Indias Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivers a keynote address at the opening dinner of the 17th IISS Shangri-la Dialogue, an annual defense and security forum in Asia, in Singapore

Modi, who pinned high hopes on New Delhi's cooperation with Beijing at the gathering of 600 delegates from 40 countries, said India shared a multi-layered relation as it does with China with no other country. He is the first Indian prime minister to speak at the SLD.

"Our trade is growing. I firmly believe that Asia and the world will have a better future if India and China work together with trust and confidence, keeping in mind each other's interests," he said.

Lieutenant-General He Li, deputy head of the People's Liberation Army's Academy of Military Sciences, who led the Chinese delegation at the SLD this year, welcomed Modi's words, China's Global Times reported.

Li, in his own address to the media later on Friday praised Modi's remarks as a friendly and positive gesture, the Global Times added.

The Indian PM's words sent a goodwill signal towards improving the ties between the two neighbours that were hit by a two-and-half month long standoff in Doklam, the Global Times report said citing Hu Zhiyong, a research fellow at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences' Institute of International Relations.

'Modi acting ahead of SCO summit, 2019 polls'

He also said that Modi needed to improve his ties with China to secure more votes in the 2019 general elections. He also added that Modi was creating a feel-good runup to the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in Qingdao in China later this month. India became a formal member of the organisation in June 2017 and will look to start on a positive note in a grouping which consists of countries like Pakistan, besides China.

"The India factor is what makes this year's SLD different from previous ones," the Global Times quoted Zhao Xiaozhuo, a research fellow at the PLA Academy of Military Sciences, as saying.

"The Indo-Pacific strategy, and the quasi-alliance between the US, Japan, India and Australia will not last long," he added. The Quad, which has been recently revived, reportedly aims at containing China.

Modi met Chinese President Xi Jinping for an informal summit at Wuhan in China in April end to iron out differences in key areas. While many said it was an effort by Modi to show his statesmanship ahead of his next big test in 2019, other observers were of the opinion that India and China were thereby trying to come close at a time when the US is promoting protectionism in trade.

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