Setting aside recent strains in bilateral ties, India's External Affairs Minister S M Krishna held his first meeting with his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi and stressed that India and China are not rivals but partners in an emerging Asia.
"India and China may be competitive in economic and trade areas, but they are not rivals. There is enough space for both India and China to grow," Krishna told Indian journalists after his 20-minute talk with Yang on the sidelines of the India-ASEAN ministerial meetings in this Thai island resort.
Describing his meeting with Yang as a "very useful, cordial and friendly exchange of views", Krishna said: "We reciprocated the mutual desire to deepen our multi-faceted cooperation between India and China."
Rejecting speculation about the Chinese threat, Krishna said he conveyed to his Chinese counterpart India's desire to forge "a lasting friendship and partnership" in the region.
"What impressed me was the spontaneity and warmth of the Chinese foreign minister," Krishna said while stressing that the purpose of the short meeting was to build rapport and understanding between the two foreign ministers.
"We will continue to be in touch with each other and share our concerns," said Krishna who became India's foreign minister nearly two months ago.
The Chinese foreign minister conveyed that Beijing was looking forward to the visit of President Pratibha Patil later in the year, Krishna said.
The two foreign ministers expressed satisfaction with the dramatic expansion of economic ties, despite political differences over issues like the boundary dispute and recent strains in ties due to China's opposition to a development loan for India with the Asian Development Bank.
Bilateral trade between the two neighbours is estimated to surpass $60 billion by 2010.
Beijing recently opposed a loan for India at the Manila-based ADB as it included an allocation for Arunachal Pradesh, India's northeast state which is claimed in its entirety by China.
The meeting took place ahead of the 12th round of boundary talks that will be held in New Delhi August 7-8.