Xi, Modi seek stable relationship

NEW DELHIChinese President Xi Jinping (picture) and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi held their first talks since defusing a border standoff, with both leaders calling for stable ties between the two Asian giants.

A healthy, stable relationship is in the fundamental interest of both nations, Xi said, according to the official Xinhua News Agency yesterday after the conclusion of a summit of so-called Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) nations in China’s Xiamen. He called for pushing ties forward on the “right track”.

“China and India should stick with the fundamental judgement that both can provide development opportunities for each other and neither should pose threats toward each other,” Xi was quoted as saying by Xinhua. “I hope India can correctly and rationally view China’s development.”

Modi and Xi had a “constructive” meeting in which they discussed how to improve ties and avoid letting differences turn into disputes, India’s foreign secretary S Jaishankar said in a briefing after the talks.

“Where there is an area of difference, it should be handled with mutual respect and efforts should be made to find common ground,” Jaishankar said. “Peace and tranquility in the border areas was a prerequisite for the further development of our relationship.”

The sit-down follows the easing of an acrimonious, months-long dispute in a remote mountainous border area in the Himalayas. The day before the meeting, the leaders of BRICS pledged to increase economic cooperation to boost global growth.

“Both showed a conciliatory approach with an eye to stabilising the bilateral ties of the world’s two important developing countries,” said Sun Shihai, a senior researcher on China-India relations at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

The dispute on the Doklam plateau had simmered since mid-June, evoking memories of a brief border war in 1962 where China emerged the victor. China’s foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang declined to confirm whether Xi and Modi specifically discussed the Doklam border stand-off in the talks. — Bloomberg