World leaders skip protocol to congratulate Indian PM early

Chinese President Xi Jinping was among the first to extend his congratulations to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (pictured) on his win.
Chinese President Xi Jinping was among the first to extend his congratulations to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (pictured) on his win.PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW DELHI • More than a few world leaders congratulated Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his re-election yesterday before the final results were out, raising more than a few eyebrows at the deviation from standard protocol.

Chinese President Xi Jinping was among the first world leaders to extend his congratulations to Mr Modi on his win.

According to an Indian Ministry of External Affairs media statement, Mr Xi wrote a letter to Mr Modi in which he underlined the great importance he attached to India-China relations. "I... would like to work with you to guide the development directions of bilateral relations, enhance mutual political trust, expand pragmatic cooperation and promote the closer developmental partnership between the two countries to a new height," Mr Xi wrote.

Russian President Vladimir Putin was another well-wisher, telling Mr Modi in a congratulatory message that he was ready to build up the bilateral relationship, according to media reports. "I am convinced that, as the Prime Minister of India, you will further strengthen the centuries-old friendship between our peoples and the all-round development of a particularly privileged strategic partnership between Russia and India," Mr Putin said.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan tweeted his congratulations to Mr Modi, asserting that he looked forward to working with the Indian Premier, reported Reuters.

"Congratulate Prime Minister Modi on the electoral victory of BJP and allies. Look forward to working with him for peace, progress and prosperity in South Asia," Mr Khan tweeted, referring to Mr Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party.

Mr Khan's message came after Pakistan's military said it tested a surface-to-surface ballistic missile capable of carrying conventional and nuclear warheads, just a day after India said its military had test-fired the world's fastest missile.


Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe extended his congratulations in a phone call with Mr Modi, with the two leaders expressing their intent to meet at the Group of 20 Summit in Osaka next month.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also used social media to cheer on the re-elected Prime Minister. "Congratulations, my friend @narendramodi, on your impressive election victory!" Mr Netanyahu tweeted.

"The election results further reaffirm your leadership of the world's largest democracy. Together, we will continue to strengthen the great friendship between India and Israel," he tweeted.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani was also among Mr Modi's well-wishers. "Congratulations to PM @narendramodi on a strong mandate from the people of India," Mr Ghani wrote in a Twitter post.

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena also used Twitter to convey his best wishes.

"Congratulations on your victory and the people's re-endorsement of your leadership. Sri Lanka looks forward to continuing the warm and constructive relationship with India in the future," wrote Mr Sirisena.

The leaders of the neighbouring countries of Nepal, Bangladesh and Bhutan also congratulated Mr Modi, reported The Economic Times.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 24, 2019, with the headline 'World leaders skip protocol to congratulate Indian PM early'. Print Edition | Subscribe