Chinese President Xi Jinping told Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday that India and China “do not pose threats” to each other as he expressed Beijing’s willingness to join New Delhi in pushing forward a closer development partnership between the two sides.

President Xi made the remarks during his meeting with PM Modi on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit in the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek.

It was their first interaction after Narendra Modi’s re-election as India’s prime minister.

In a statement, the Chinese Foreign Ministry in Beijing said that President Xi Jinping told Prime Minister Modi that India and China should deepen cooperation by properly handling differences and called for strengthening Confidence Building Measures to maintain stability at the border.

“China is ready to work with India to continuously advance the closer development partnership between the two countries,” Xi Jinping said.

Xi Jinping urged the two sides to stick to the fundamental judgement that “China and India offer each other chances for development, and do not pose each other threats,” state-run Xinhua news agency reported, citing the statement.

Xi Jinping called on the two countries to keep deepening mutual trust, focusing on cooperation, and properly handling their disputes so as to turn the bilateral relationship into a positive element for their respective development.

Xi Jinping pointed out that China and India are the only two emerging markets with a population of one billion in the world, both of which are at an important stage of rapid development.

Working together, China and India will not only boost each other’s development, but also contribute to peace, stability and prosperity of Asia and the world at large, he said.

Xi Jinping said both the countries should deepen mutual trust, focus on cooperation and properly handle differences, so as to make China-India relations a more positive asset and energy for the development of the two countries, the statement said.

On the vexed boundary issue, Xi Jinping said, “We need to make good use of the meeting of the Special Representatives on the boundary issue and other mechanisms, strengthen Confidence-Building Measures (CBMs) and maintain stability at the border areas”.

So far, the two countries have held 21 rounds of talks to resolve differences over the 3488-km long Line Actual Control (LAC).

“We need to expand cooperation channels, carry out cooperation in investment, production capacity and tourism, expand common interests, and jointly promote regional connectivity, including the development of the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Economic Corridor (BCIM) so as to achieve better cooperation and common development,” Xi Jinping said.

In reply, PM Modi told Xi that the Indian side was willing to maintain close high-level exchanges with China, strengthen strategic communication, promote bilateral relations in a wide range of fields, expand new areas of cooperation, and properly handle their differences.

In his first multi-lateral summit, PM Modi made it clear to President Xi that there was no question of India resuming dialogue with Pakistan until Islamabad created an atmosphere free of terrorism in the region.

PM Modi asserted that India has not seen any change in Pakistan’s attitude on dealing with terrorism emanating from its soil. He added that all efforts by New Delhi for peace with Islamabad had been derailed.

The remarks come when Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan is also in Bishkek to attend the SCO meet.

PM Modi arrived in Bishkek on Thursday for the two-day SCO meeting of head of states.

The PM reached Bishkek via Oman, Iran and Central Asian countries bypassing Pakistani airspace. The Indian government had initially requested Pakistan to grant exception to PM Modi’s aircraft. Islamabad had acceded to the request but the Indian government then did a change of plans.