India and China said on Friday that an early settlement of the boundary question should be pursued as a strategic objective and that both sides are "determined to actively seek a political settlement" of the vexed issue.
In a joint statement issued after talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Premier Li Keqiang, the two sides said they had "made a positive assessment of the important progress made through the mechanism of the Special Representatives, and reaffirmed the commitment to abide by the three-stage process for the settlement of the boundary question, and continuously push forward negotiation on the framework for a boundary settlement based on the outcomes and common understanding achieved so far, in an effort to seek a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable solution as early as possible".
The two sides "will resolve outstanding differences, including the boundary question, in a proactive manner", it said.
The two sides said their differences "should not be allowed to come in the way of continued development of bilateral relations. Peace and tranquility on the India-China border was recognised as an important guarantor for the development and continued growth of bilateral relations".
"Pending a final resolution of the boundary question, the two sides commit to implementing the existing agreements and continue to make efforts to maintain peace and tranquility in the border areas," the joint statement said.
"Committed to enhance border defence cooperation, the two sides will carry out annual visits and exchanges between the two Military Headquarters and neighbouring military commands, endeavour to operationalize the hotline between the two Military Headquarters, expand the exchanges between the border commanders, and establish border personnel meeting points at all sectors of the India-China border areas," it said.
Both sides said enhanced military ties were conducive to building mutual trust and confidence. "The Indian side welcomed visit of a Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission of China to India this year, and the Chinese side invited Indian Defence Minister and other military leaders to visit China this year. The fifth joint counter-terrorism training between the two armies will be held in China in 2015. The two sides will exchange visits of naval ships and hold PASSEX and SAR exercises," the statement said.
On bilateral trade, both sides agreed to take necessary measures to remove impediments to bilateral trade and investment, facilitate greater market access to each other's economies, and support local governments of the two countries to strengthen trade and investment exchanges.
The two sides also resolved to take measures to alleviate the skewed bilateral trade.
The meeting of the Strategic Economic Dialogue, co-chaired by Vice Chairman of NITI Aayog of India and Chairman of NDRC of China, will be held in India during the second half of 2015, it said.
They noted the progress in cooperation in the Railway sector, including projects for raising speed on the existing Chennai-Bengaluru-Mysuru line, proposed feasibility studies for the Delhi-Nagpur section of high-speed rail link, the station redevelopment planning for Bhubaneswar and Baiyappanahalli, heavy haul transportation training and setting up of a railway university.
The two sides welcomed the agreements on establishing a provincial partnership between Karnataka and Sichuan and sister-city relationships between Aurangabad-Dunhuang, Chennai-Chongqing and Hyderabad-Qingdao.
The two sides decided to establish an 'India-China Think Tanks Forum', which will meet annually, alternately in India and China, and agreed to institutionalize the 'High Level Media Forum'.
India expressed appreciation to China for providing flood-season hydrological data and the assistance in emergency management.
The two sides agreed to enhance border cooperation through border trade, pilgrimage "so as to transform the border into a bridge of cooperation and exchanges. The two sides agreed to hold negotiation on augmenting the list of traded commodities, and expand border trade at Nathu La, Qiangla/Lipu-Lekh Pass and Shipki La", the statement said.
They agreed to strengthen coordination and cooperation in multilateral forums including RIC, BRICS and G20. India will support China in hosting the G20 summit in 2016. They welcomed the decision to launch a bilateral consultative mechanism on WTO-related issues.
They said there was no justification for terrorism and urged all countries and entities "to work sincerely to disrupt terrorist networks and their financing, and stop cross-border movement of terrorists" and called for early conclusion of negotiations on the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism.
Both support comprehensive reform of the United Nations to make it more effective. "China attaches great importance to India's status in international affairs as a large developing country, and understands and supports India's aspiration to play a greater role in the United Nations including in the Security Council".
China welcomed "India's application for full membership of Shanghai Cooperation Organization". Both agreed to work together with others to accelerate the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.
Both welcomed progress in promoting cooperation of the Bangladesh, China, India and Myanmar Economic Corridor.
"The two sides agreed to broaden cooperation in SAARC".
China welcomed "India's desire to strengthen its link with APEC".
The two sides welcomed the India-China Dialogue on Arms Control and Non-Proliferation held in Beijing on April 17, 2015.
The Chinese side "took note of India's aspirations to become a member of the NSG, in a bid to strengthen international non-proliferation efforts".
On the issue of climate change, both underscored the importance of working together and with other countries to conclude an ambitious, comprehensive, universal, balanced and equitable climate agreement at the climate change talks be held in Paris later this year.
Modi invited Li to visit India at a mutually convenient time, which the Chinese premier has accepted.