In a major confidence-building measure, India and China launched a maritime dialogue on Thursday.
The meeting between external affairs minister SM Krishna and his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi in New Delhi reviewed the bilateral ties ahead of President Hu Jintao's visit to India by the end of this month for the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) summit.
Both sides also agreed to hold a meeting of the new boundary mechanism in Beijing next week. The dialogue is being seen as a way forward in building trust between the two countries on maritime issues.
Beijing has been enlarging its footprint in the Indian Ocean, and New Delhi's close ties with countries party to the South China sea tussle has been a cause of concern for Beijing. The modalities of the maritime dialogue will be worked out later.
After the talks, Krishna stressed the need to "strengthen the strategic partnership", noting that the ties are moving in a "positive direction".
"Every possible issue that is raised whenever India-China dialogue takes place were raised, and we have understood each other's position," he said. Yang echoed the desire for stronger relations.
"India and China will set up a maritime dialogue. It is expected to be led by India's external affairs ministry and China's foreign ministry," Syed Akbaruddin, MEA spokesperson, said.
"It was a suggestion from the Chinese side," Gautam Bambawale, joint secretary in charge of China in the ministry, said.