Modi tells Xi relations are stable, differences manageable


MAMALLAPURAM, India (AP) – Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday told visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping that their relations have attained stability and fresh momentum in the past year and they would manage their differences prudently by not allowing them to become a dispute.

Modi said both countries have decided to be sensitive to each other’s concerns as he and Xi sat down for delegation-level talks on Saturday in the seaside temple town of Mamallapuram.

They were meeting at a time of tensions over Beijing’s support for India’s rival Pakistan in opposing New Delhi’s downgrading of Kashmir’s semi-autonomy and continuing restrictions in the disputed region.

Without going into details, Xi said in his opening remarks that he had candid and in-depth discussions with Modi on various issues since his arrival Friday.

India’s foreign ministry said Xi and Modi met over dinner for more than two hours on Friday.

Modi and Xi resolved to work together in facing the challenges of radicalization and terrorism besides emphasizing on expanding trade and investment, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale told reporters.

There was an acknowledgement that both India and China were “very complex and very diverse countries” and both would work together so that radicalization and terrorism did not affect their multicultural, multiethnic and multireligious societies, Gokhale said. He did not give details.

Tensions in Kashmir, which is divided between Pakistan and India but claimed by both, have escalated since August, when India downgraded the semi-autonomy of Indian-administered Kashmir and imposed a security and communications lockdown.

China supported Pakistan in raising India’s actions at the U.N. General Assembly meeting in New York. China said India should not act unilaterally in Kashmir, a portion of which China also controls.

Xi arrived in India two days after hosting Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan in Beijing.

India accuses neighboring Pakistan of arming and training insurgent groups fighting for Kashmir’s independence or its merger with Pakistan since 1989. Pakistan denies the charge. The two countries have fought two wars over its control since they won independence from British colonialists in 1947.

The leaders’ meeting in Wuhan, China, in April 2018 was preceded by tensions caused by a 10-week standoff between their armed forces on the Bhutan border.

China claims some 90,000 square kilometers (35,000 square miles) of territory in India’s northeast, while India says China occupies 38,000 square kilometers (15,000 square miles) of its territory on the Aksai Chin Plateau in the western Himalayas. Officials have met at least 20 times to discuss the competing border claims without making significant progress.

India and China fought a border war in 1962. 

India also is concerned about China’s moves to build strategic and economic ties with its neighbors, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh and the Maldives.

Xi will be visiting Nepal at the conclusion of his visit to India on Saturday.

In this handout photo provided by the Indian Prime Minister’s Office, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi shake hands in Mamallapuram, India. Xi met with Modi at a time of tensions over Beijing’s support for Pakistan in opposing India’s downgrading of Kashmir’s semi-autonomy and continuing restrictions on the disputed region. (Indian Prime Minister’s Office via AP)