China gives India the way forward for sensitive bilateral ties

China gives India the way forward for sensitive bilateral ties

BEIJING: Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday told Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi that the two countries should work to "appropriately" manage their differences, the Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement online.

"(China and India) should strengthen multilateral communication and consultation, and appropriately control and manage differences and sensitive issues," Xi said, according to the post.

Xi also congratulated India on becoming an official member state of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) security bloc, jointly led by Russia and China.

The two leaders meet in Astana, Kazakhstan on the sidelines of a summit for the eight country bloc, which also includes nearly a dozen other states as partners or observer states.

Modi thanked Xi for supporting India to join the SCO and said that the two countries should respect each others core interests and appropriately manage differences, according to the Chinese foreign ministry post. No comment was immediately available from the Indian delegation.

Xi also said that China and India should increase trade and investment cooperation to ensure that the two countries were able to enjoy more "early stage profits" from large scale projects in infrastructure and industry.

"Substantive progress" on the China-India-Bangladesh-Myanmar project should also be promoted, Xi said, referring to a project to increase connectivity and trade between the four countries.

India has expressed unease over China's "Silk Road" initiative to expand trade links between China and Eurasia, and did not send government officials from Delhi to attend a summit of leaders and ministers in Beijing in May.

A visit in April by Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, who Beijing brands a separatist, to a region controlled by India but claimed by China stoked tensions between the two countries.

The Indian government has since taken steps to cool tensions, rejecting an Australian request to take part in joint naval exercises with the United States and Japan last month to avoid agonizing China.

The SCO was formed by China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan in 2001 to fight threats posed by radicals and drug trafficking from neighboring Afghanistan.

China has said that it supports Iran's membership of the security bloc, as requested by Russia, and that the subject is under discussion at the summit, despite having been refused last year.