In a damage control mode after its recent bid to block development aid for India at the Asian Development Bank, China has stressed the need to build "strategic trust" to handle "frictions" better and said the two countries have "no other option than living in peace and developing side by side".
India and China have decided to take a slew of measures to further their ties that include setting up a hotline between the prime ministers, robust people-to-people and cultural contacts, high-level visits and expanding coordination on global issues like protectionism.
"China and India should endeavour to build strategic mutual trust. Both need to expand the common interests and cooperation bilaterally and on regional and global affairs," a statement by the Chinese foreign affairs ministry said Saturday night at the end of the 13th round of boundary talks.
India's National Security Adviser M K Narayanan and China's State Councillor Dai Bingguo, also the vice foreign minister, held two-day talks here to devise a framework for a final settlement of the border dispute. The talks also covered other bilateral, regional and international issues.
The desire to keep bilateral relations on an even keel was mutual.
The two sides decided to accelerate the process of setting up a hotline between their prime ministers, a proposal mooted when Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met Chinese President Hu Jintao on the sidelines of a multilateral summit in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg in June.
In a deviation from the normally terse statement issued at the end of each round of boundary talks, both the Indian and Chinese foreign ministries came out with detailed separate statements emphasising the importance of consolidating their strategic partnership.
India described China as "a key foreign policy priority" while Beijing backed "a bigger role" for New Delhi in world affairs.
Ruling out any conflict, the Chinese foreign ministry said: "China and India have no other option than living in peace and developing side by side." Beijing stressed on greater coordination with New Delhi on major international issues like the global financial crisis, climate change, energy and food security.
China also struck an upbeat note about promoting the relationship with "a higher and strategic perspective" and called for expanding people-to-people contacts and cultural interactions as the two sides get ready to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations in 2010 by observing a year of friendship in their respective countries.
The re-assertion of friendship and strategic partnership comes against the backdrop of recent discordant notes in bilateral ties.
In March, China tried to block a development loan for India at the Manila-based Asian Development Bank on grounds that a part of it was meant for Arunachal Pradesh, which Beijing claims. China's attempt to block a waiver by the Nuclear Suppliers Group for New Delhi last year has not been forgotten in India.