China and India launch first strategic dialogue
Asian giants India and China opened a first round of "strategic dialogue", officials said, as their regional and international influence surges despite a nagging border dispute.
The talks were being held between delegations led by Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei and Indian foreign secretary Shyam Saran, a fluent Mandarin speaker, officials said.
"The talks have begun, they will continue over lunch. This is an important element in the process of engagement with China," an Indian foreign ministry official said.
The two-day New Delhi dialogue, which the officials said had no "fixed agenda", aims to broaden the scope of the Sino-Indian relationship allowing both sides to exchange notes on global and regional security issues.
The neighbours already have in place a joint working group on a long-standing boundary dispute which is to come up for review.
India and China fought a brief border war in 1962 that left their relations in shreds. But in recent years they have played down their territorial dispute to focus on improving commercial and other ties.
Both sides are engaged in discussions to resolve the lingering boundary dispute -- a fallout of the 1962 war - with special representatives holding several rounds of talks since June 2003.
According to a report in the Indian Express, the talks were expected to provide a forum to forge greater understanding on issues including terrorism, energy security, disarmament and United Nations reforms.
The exploitation of energy reserves in Central Asia could also figure, the paper said noting the strategic locations of India and China.
During his stay in New Delhi, Wu will call on Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Foreign Minister Natwar Singh.
Indian analysts have welcomed the launch of strategic dialogue between the two most populous nations of the world that have so far been seen as competitors in crucial fields -- in trade and attracting global investments.