India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi called yesterday for a “new era” in relations with China as he held talks with President Xi Jinping aiming to overcome troublesome differences between the world’s two most populous nations.
Modi and Xi strolled along a pristine Bay of Bengal beach and held one-on-one talks from chairs overlooking the ocean before their delegations sat down to official negotiations at the historic resort town of Mahabalipuram, south of Chennai.
The two leaders met for the second time in
18 months in a bid to ease tensions over border disputes, the troubled Kashmir region and China’s domination of trade between their huge economies.
They reaffirmed a pledge made at the last summit in Wuhan, China, that “both sides will prudently manage their differences and not allow differences on any issue to become disputes,” said an Indian government statement. Modi said the Wuhan summit had given “increased stability and fresh momentum to our relationship”.
“Our Chennai vision today has launched a new era of cooperation between our two countries,” he added.
Xi said in his opening remarks to the summit
delegations that he and Modi held “candid discussions as friends.”
The buildup to the summit has been dominated by India’s move in August to end the autonomous status of Jammu and Kashmir state.
Changes ordered by the New Delhi government will see Kashmir’s Ladakh region—part of which is claimed by Beijing—turned into a separate Indian administrative territory.
India has moved closer to the United States and its allies in seeking a counter-weight to China’s growing military shadow in the Asia-Pacific region.