India, China agree to keep border peace at 'milestone' informal summit

Xi Modi agree to improve ties cooperate

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi spent around 24 hours in the central Chinese city of Wuhan for meetings with President Xi Jinping, an ice-breaking trip both hoped would allow candour and nurture trust.

The foreign secretary said the two leaders agreed on prioritising the maintenance of peace along their borders and "decided to issue strategic guidelines to their military to this effect".

"The two leaders endorsed the work of the Special Representatives in their efforts to find a fair, reliable and truly acceptable settlement".

The two leaders 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.

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Today, the two leaders walked along the banks of East Lake and also took a boat ride together as they made a decision to step up their personal rapport to add heft at the highest levels to try and fix a relationship that reached its lowest ebb a year ago during the 73-day military standoff in Doklam. The two leaders also agreed to set up a joint economic project in Afghanistan, which is strategically important to both nations. Maintaining strategic confrontation against China, India will lose out on Chinese investment and will have to invest more limited resources into its military, hindering its economic growth, the report added.

"India is pursuing its "Make in India" initiative, so it is concerned the United States might one day do the same to it", said Associate Professor Lin Minwang, an expert on Sino-Indian ties at Fudan University.

The China Daily in an opinion piece said: "The beauty of the informal summit between Xi and Modi is that it comes with no baggage, only expectations". They started the summit talks at the Hubei Provincial Museum where Xi took Modi around introducing the historic artefacts.

There were six rounds of meetings between PM Modi and Mr Xi, both at the level of bilateral delegations and one-on-one meetings, where the two leaders were accompanied by only their interpreters.

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"In that context, the Prime Minister also mentioned the importance of balancing trade and also spoke of the possibility of agricultural export and pharmaceutical exports to China".

China's decision to team up with India in Afghanistan could upset Pakistan, which considers Beijing as its "all weather ally", sources said.

"There is reason to believe that this Wuhan meeting will increase mutual trust, manage and control disputes, deepen cooperation and lead to a new phase in China-India relations", it said. It published a large photo of the two leaders shaking hands.

Foreign Secretary Vijay K Gokhale on Saturday said that Chinese President Xi Jinping is fond of Indian films and has seen a number of Indian films, including Bollywood and regional.

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"Yet neither Beijing nor New Delhi calls the other an enemy, which means both expect bilateral ties to improve", it said.

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