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India's Modi urges China to 'reconsider' approach to resolve disputes

India and China have agreed to work on long-standing border conflicts and trade imbalance disputes to bolster bilateral ties. Indian PM Modi, who is visiting China, said that Beijing needed to "reconsider" its approach.

India is looking for a new direction to improve relations with China, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi told reporters on Friday after meeting his Chinese counterpart, Li Keqiang, in Beijing.

"Our conversations were candid, constructive and friendly. We covered all issues ... I asked China to reconsider its approach on some of the issues that hold us back on realizing the full potential of our partnership," Modi said.

The Indian premier is currently on a three-day official visit to China

. His first stop was Xian, the capital of Chinese President Xi Jinping's home province Shaanxi, where he was received by the communist head of state on Thursday.

Sino-Indian ties have improved considerably during the past decade, but the two Asian giants are still entangled in long-festering border disputes. Since coming to power last year,

Prime Minister Modi has tried to bolster New Delhi's relations with Beijing

.

"Our relation has been complex in recent decades," Modi said, adding there were issues that "trouble smooth development of our relations."

"But we have a historic responsibility to turn this relationship into a source of strength for each other and a force of good for the world," he said, adding that the Chinese leaders had been "responsive" to his proposals.

Chinese Premier Li agreed with Modi that the two countries needed to "keep up the momentum on the special representatives' talks on the boundary question and seek a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable solution."

"We do not deny that there are some disagreements between us, but we have far more common interests than differences," Premier Li said after Friday's meeting.

Trade agreements

According to unconfirmed local reports, China and India have signed 24 deals ranging from cooperation in aerospace and transport to tourism and education.

Beijing is New Delhi's largest trading partner with $71-billion (62.2-billion-euro) two-way commerce in 2014. But India's trade deficit with China has risen from just $1 billion in 2001-02 to more than $38 billion last year, according to Indian figures.

Climate targets

In a rare joint statement issued on Friday, India and China urged rich countries to spur efforts to bring down their carbon emissions level. Leaders of the two Asian nations also asked the West to provide financial, technological and other means to help developing countries reduce their own emissions.

"The two sides urged the developed countries to raise their pre-2020 emission reduction targets and honor their commitment to provide $100 billion per year by 2020 to developing countries," the statement said.

China and India, which are among the world's top greenhouse gas emitters, at least in bulk terms, did not make any commitments on their own proposals, but said they would submit their respective plans prior to climate talks in Paris later this year.

shs/msh (AP, AFP, Reuters)

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