China and India agree to maintain border peace, as summit ends

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, left, receives a bunch of flowers after arriving in Wuhan in China's central Hubei province on April 27, 2018.

New Delhi (CNN)Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping have agreed to strengthen communications and maintain peace along the two countries' shared border, following the conclusion of a two-day "informal" summit held in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.

"The two leaders underscored the importance of maintaining peace and tranquility in all areas of the India-China border region in the larger interest of the overall development of bilateral relations," read a joint statement issued by the Indian Foreign Ministry.
The announcement comes less than a year after the two regional powers became locked in a tense 72-day military standoff in the disputed border region in the India-China-Bhutan "trijunction."
    The incident was the latest in a long-running series of territorial flare-ups between the two nuclear-armed neighbors. In 1962, China and India engaged in a bloody border war, and skirmishes have continued to break out sporadically in the decades since.
      Saturday's statement outlined proposals intended to strengthen direct lines of communication between the two nations' militaries, "in order to build trust and mutual understanding and enhance predictability and effectiveness in the management of border affairs."
      Addressing the media in Wuhan Saturday, Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale, said the two countries had the "maturity and the wisdom" to handle their differences through peaceful discussion.
      "On the issue of the India-China boundary question, the two leaders endorsed the work of the special representatives in their efforts to find a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable settlement," he said.
        Other longtime sore points between the two governments include China's ardent backing of Pakistan, India's arch rival, and New Delhi's sheltering of the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader whom Beijing considers a separatist traitor.

        Clear the air

        Billed as an "informal" summit rather than a more traditional state visit, the meeting has been interpreted as an attempt to reset relations and rebuild trust between the two neighboring powers.
        On Friday afternoon, Modi and Xi had a one-on-one meeting before touring the Hubei Provincial Museum in Wuhan, home to some of China's oldest cultural relics.
        Images posted by Indian Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar on social media showed Modi being welcomed to the museum with an elaborate Chinese cultural performance. "India and China's cultural connect goes back many centuries," Kumar said on his official Twitter feed.