Seeking to put behind the recent verbal spat between India and China over Arunachal Pradesh, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his counterpart Wen Jiabao on Saturday agreed to build trust and understanding and strengthen the bilateral strategic ties.
However, issues like Arunachal Pradesh and the Dalai Lama did not figure during the talks between the two Prime Ministers who met on the sidelines of the ASEAN summit in this Thai beach resort of Cha-Aam Hua Hin, highly-placed sources said.
The two leaders began their meeting at Dusit Thani hotel with a warm handshake. The scheduled 45-minute meeting spilled over to almost an hour.
In his opening remarks, Wen said "we want to have a healthy and steady relationship with India," according to the sources.
Wen described Singh as an "old friend" and recalled their several previous meetings. "In the years ahead we are confident that we will have good relations," he said.
Terming his meeting with Wen as productive, Singh said it was a "good discussion" and the two sides agreed to further promote strategic and cooperative partnership and seek to build trust and understanding.
Their meeting came as the two countries struck conciliatory notes after provocative statements from China on Arunachal Pradesh evoked a sharp reaction from India.
China regards Arunachal Pradesh a disputed territory and objected to Prime Minister Singh's visit there for assembly polls, triggering sharp reaction from India which asserted that the state is an integral part of the country.
Wen was quoted as saying at the beginning of his talks with Singh by China's official Xinhua news agency that "we have reached important consensus on promoting bilateral ties, and I believe that our two countries could maintain a good relationship in the future, which conforms with the interests of the two countries and I have confidence about that."
Singh congratulated Wen on the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the People's Republic of China, massive celebrations for which were held on October one.
Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma, Prime Minister's Principal Secretary T K A Nair and Joint Secretary (East Asia) N Ravi attended the meeting from the Indian side.
Ahead of the Singh-Wen meeting, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao said on Friday night that the relationship between the two countries is a "complex one" though it has "developed in many areas" in recent years.
Other issues which recently led to the war of words between the two fastest growing economies in the world included China issuing visas to people from Jammu and Kashmir on loose sheets. India had also said that the Chinese developmental activities in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir were not in the interest of the Sino-India ties.
China has protested Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama's planned visit to Arunachal Pradesh next month. It accuses the Dalai, who fled to India in 1949 after a failed uprising against the Communist rule, of indulging in anti-China activities and trying to "split" Tibet from the country.
Concerns have also been expressed, especially by Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, over reports of China building dams on its side of the river Brahmaputra.
However, in the last few days conciliatory tones were heard from both New Delhi and Beijing. Senior functionaries of both the countries said the border issue could be resolved by dialogue. PTI