BEIJING, Jan. 15 (UPI) -- China and India have agreed to strengthen military ties, the vice chairman of China's Central Military Commission announced.
The announcement was made by Xu Qiliang after meetings in Beijing Monday between senior Chinese and Indian military officials. The Indian side was led by Defense Secretary Shashi Kant Sharma, the official Xinhua News agency reported.
Xu called China and India the largest developing countries in the world and important neighbors for each other.
He said China attaches great importance in developing military ties with India and hopes to increase mutual strategic trust, enhance friendly communication and deepen pragmatic cooperation to promote the strategic partnership for peace and prosperity, Xinhua reported.
The two countries fought a brief border war in 1962, but since then relations have steadily improved, although their border issues remain unresolved and new tensions have arisen, especially those relating to China's close relations with Pakistan, India's traditional adversary. But India-China trade also has boomed in recent years.
Other irritants in India-China relations include the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader who has been living in India since the failed Tibetan rebellion in 1959 and who China has accused of encouraging Tibetan independence. China's territorial claims in the South China Sea also are among the concerns.
Xu was quoted as saying he believes the two countries have enough wisdom and ability to handle their relationship and be able to pave a healthy and stable development path for it, Xinhua said.
Sharma said India attaches great importance to developing its relationship with China and expressed confidence in the future progress of military relations between the two countries, the report said.
Last September, the two countries agreed to resume their joint military exercises after a hiatus of four years. That was announced in New Delhi during the visit of Chinese Defense Minister Gen. Liang Guanglie, who led a large delegation.