NEW DELHI: The foreign ministers of the world’s two most populous countries, India and China, on 13 February held talks to further normalise ties and move past a bitter 1962 border war.
Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing and Indian counterpart Pranab Mukherjee discussed how to intensify regional cooperation and set up a mechanism to manage issues related to shared rivers, India’s top China diplomat said.
“The discussions earlier today were extensive and wide-ranging, covering regional, bilateral and global issues,” India’s Ambassador to China, Nirupama Rao, told reporters in New Delhi.
“What you see unfolding before you is a very mature dialogue that is taking place between two equal partners.”
Li arrived ahead of Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, for talks on 14 February between the three nations on regional issues such as terrorism and drug trafficking, as well as the situations in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq and North Korea.
The trilateral relationship between India, China and Russia was first proposed by former Russian prime minister Yevgeny Primakov during a visit to New Delhi in 1998.
Tuesday’s meeting was the first contact between economic and strategic rivals India and China after Beijing conducted a satellite-killing missile test last month.
The Chinese delegation made a statement on the test during the talks, Rao said.
“They stressed that China was against weaponisation and militarisation of outer space and that the test conducted, according to them, was of a purely technological and scientific nature,” she said.
The test drew sharp responses from Canberra, Washington and Tokyo and also rattled New Delhi, with several Indian officials and leaders warning against the militarisation of outer space.
Li and his Indian host, Pranab Mukherjee, also discussed the border dispute that led to the 1962 conflict, the Indian diplomat told reporters.