Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi thanked allied lawmakers Friday for unanimously agreeing to back his third term in office, after an unexpectedly close election forced his party to rely on coalition partners to keep him in power.

Modi's Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ruled outright for the past decade, but failed to repeat its prior two landslide wins this time around, defying analyst expectations and exit polls.

He was instead forced into quick-fire talks with the 15-member National Democratic Alliance (NDA) coalition, which guaranteed him the parliamentary numbers to govern.

Modi's party has not revealed what concessions alliance members were given to secure their support, but several larger parties were seeking plum ministerial portfolios.

"It is my great fortune that you've elected me as NDA leader with complete consensus," Modi told a meeting of the bloc's nearly 300 lawmakers held in India's parliament.

"A majority is essential to run the country, that's the essence of democracy. But to run a country, consensus is also essential."

The meeting was a formality after the leaders of each party guaranteed their support earlier in the week, as is Modi's slated visit to President Droupadi Murmu later on Friday to seek her formal approval to form the next government.

But it was also an opportunity to demonstrate the concord between Modi and his new partners in government.

"Modi has a vision and a zeal, and his execution is perfect, and he is executing all his policies with a true spirit," said Chandrababu Naidu, the leader of the premier's largest coalition party ally.

"Today India has the right leader for the right time -- that is, Narendra Modi."

Other party leaders adorned Modi with a garland of purple flowers while Nitish Kumar, another key supporter, bent to touch the 73-year-old's feet in a traditional gesture of respect.

- 'Wooing them' -

The alliance will wield 293 seats in the lower house of parliament, out of a total of 543.

Some coalition allies are looking to benefit from the new arrangement.

The Indian Express reported Friday that Naidu's Telugu Desam Party (TDP) from the southern state of Andhra Pradesh -- which holds 16 seats -- would press for the revival of plans to build a new state legislative capital.

Kumar's Janata Dal (United) party of Bihar state, the BJP's second-largest ally, was meanwhile seeking a review of a contentious army recruitment scheme introduced by the government in 2022 to cut military expenditure.

Despite the united front, political analyst Zoya Hasan of Jawaharlal Nehru University told AFP that Modi's new coalition alliances could lead to friction down the road.

"Chandrababu Naidu and Nitish Kumar, both are crafty politicians. So in some ways, Modi might be meeting his match in these two politicians," Hasan said.

"They have friends across the aisle. And surely the opposition will be wooing them."

- 'New chapter of development' -

Indian media reports said Modi was likely to be sworn in as prime minister on Sunday evening.

Regional leaders including Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh and Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe have said they will attend the ceremony.

Modi insisted on Tuesday that the election results were a victory that ensured he could continue his agenda.

"Our third term will be one of big decisions and the country will write a new chapter of development," Modi told a crowd of cheering supporters in the capital New Delhi after his win.

Commentators and exit polls had projected an overwhelming victory for Modi, who critics have accused of leading the jailing of opposition figures and trampling on the rights of India's 200-million-plus Muslim community.

But the BJP secured just 240 seats in parliament, well down from the 303 it won five years ago and 32 short of a majority on its own.