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Indian official: Modi, Xi meeting on relations constructive

Posted September 5

— Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi agreed Tuesday that their countries need to make more efforts to improve mutual trust, and that peace in their border areas was paramount for a positive future relationship, India's foreign secretary said.

S. Jaishankar told reporters that a more-than-hour-long bilateral meeting between the men was "constructive about where the relationship should be going and will be going."

It was "a very strong affirmation at the leadership level that it is really in the interests of both countries to keep this relationship forward and on an upward trajectory," Jaishankar said.

India last week agreed to pull back troops from the disputed Doklam Plateau high in the Himalayas, where Chinese troops had started constructing a road. The 10-week standoff was the two nations' most protracted in decades, and added to their longstanding strategic rivalry.

The plateau is claimed by both China and the tiny kingdom of Bhutan, whose external security is handled by India.

It was "natural that between neighbors and large powers that there would be areas of difference, but where there is an area of difference it should be handled with mutual respect and efforts should be made to find common ground in addressing those areas," Jaishankar said.

The two sides agreed that Chinese and Indian defense and security personnel "must maintain strong contacts and cooperation and ensure that the sort of situations which happened recently do not re-occur," he said.

"One of the important points which was made during the meeting was that peace and tranquility in the border areas was a prerequisite for the further development of our relationship and that there should be more effort made to really enhance and strengthen the level of mutual trust between the two sides," Jaishankar said.

Xi and Modi met on the sidelines of a summit of the BRICS emerging economies in the southeastern Chinese port city of Xiamen. The BRICS nations are Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

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