Wuhan (China): Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping have decided to issue "strategic guidance" to their militaries to strengthen communications and to build trust and understanding, a top Indian diplomat said on Saturday, a move aimed at avoiding a Dokalam-like situation in the future.
The two leaders have also agreed on a joint economic project in Afghanistan, sources said after the two-day summit ended Saturday.
Briefing reporters at the end of the two-day informal summit between the two leaders in the central Chinese city of Wuhan on Saturday, Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said the two leaders underscored the importance of maintaining peace and tranquility in all areas of the India-China border region.
"To this end, they issued strategic guidance to their respective militaries to strengthen communication in order to build trust and mutual understanding and enhance predictability and effectiveness in the management of border affairs," Gokhale said.
He said the two leaders further directed their militaries to earnestly implement various confidence building measures agreed upon between the two sides, including the principle of mutual and equal security, and strengthen existing institutional arrangements and information sharing mechanisms to prevent incidents in border regions.
They also endorsed the work of the special representatives to find a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable settlement on the boundary issue.
"Prime Minister Modi and President Xi underlined that as two major countries India and China have wider and overlapping regional and global interests. They agreed on their need to strengthen strategic communication through greater consultation on all matters of common interest. They believe that such strategic communication will have a positive influence on enhancing mutual understanding and will contribute to regional and global stability", a government statement said.
China-India relations date back centuries, but in recent decades have been characterised by competition for leadership in Asia. The countries fought a border war in 1962 and last year engaged in a 10-week standoff in the neighbouring state of Bhutan.
India has also been alarmed by China's moves to build strategic and economic ties with Indian Ocean nations including Sri Lanka, the Maldives and India's longtime rival Pakistan.
China resents India's hosting of the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, and its control of territory Beijing says belongs to it.
China claims some 90,000sq km of territory in India's northeast, while India says China occupies 38,000sq km of its territory on the Aksai Chin Plateau in the western Himalayas.
The Wuhan summit should be seen as a conscientious attempt to steer ties in a new direction, said Wang Lian, a professor at Peking University's School of International Relations.
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