China’s President Xi Jinping shakes hand with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi during their visit to Arjuna’s Penance in Mamallapuram on the outskirts of Chennai, India, October 11, 2019. India’s Press Information Bureau/Handout via REUTERS

MAMALLAPURAM, India, (Reuters) – Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Saturday he had a free and frank discussion with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and would pursue proposals the two leaders discussed to improve bilateral ties.

Xi and Modi held several hours of one-on-one talks in a southern seaside Indian town in their second annual summit designed to break through decades of distrust between their countries over border disputes, a ballooning trade deficit and China’s close military ties with India’s arch rival, Pakistan.

“Yesterday and today we have engaged in candid discussions and as friends,” Xi said in opening remarks as the two leaders sat down for formal talks with their delegations.

“I look forward to further discussions, I may follow up on proposals discussed yesterday,” he said, without elaborating.

Ties were ruffled when India revoked the special status of the Himalayan territory of Kashmir in August, angering both Pakistan, which claims the region, and its all-weather ally China.

Modi noted in his opening remarks that he and Xi had agreed to manage their differences prudently and not let them snowball into disputes.

Reporting by Sanjeev Miglani; Editing by Paul Tait



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