Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi while in Beijing called on China to reevaluate its approach on disagreements between the two Asian giants, including a long-running border dispute.
Modi spoke about the territorial row at a joint press briefing with Premier Li Keqiang after announcing two dozen cooperation pacts ranging from trade to railways. The two countries must work to settle those disagreements that “trouble the smooth development” of relations, Modi said.
“I stressed the need for China to reconsider its approach on some of the issues that hold us back from realizing full potential of our partnership,” Modi said, adding that both sides pledged their commitment to peace in the border region. “I found sensitivity to our concerns on these issues. I also reiterated the importance of clarification of the line of actual control.”
Modi’s comments underscore the tensions that have undercut attempts by the world’s two most populous nations to boost economic ties. Besides experiencing their most serious border standoff in years in September, frictions have risen over China’s growing presence in the Indian Ocean, Chinese investments in Pakistan and India’s tilt to the U.S. in calling for stability in the South China Sea.
“We both believe that we need to seek a fair and reasonable way to solve the border issue that can be accepted by both sides,” Li said. “Before the border issue is finally solved, both sides need to maintain the peace on the border area.”
Modi arrived in Shaanxi province Thursday, where he was greeted by red-robed monks at a Buddhist temple and saw a collection of terracotta warriors dating back to China’s first emperor. He also met with Chinese President Xi Jinping. On Saturday, he will meet Chinese business leaders in Shanghai, before traveling to Mongolia and South Korea.
After meeting with Modi on Thursday, Chinese President Xi Jinping said both sides should make an effort to enhance mutual trust and manage their “disagreements and problems” to preserve the relationship, according to a statement posted on the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ website.
— With assistance by Natalie Obiko Pearson, and Haixing Jin