SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Chinese and Indian border troops have conducted a joint disaster relief exercise, China’s defence ministry said on Monday, signalling warming ties between the two Asian powers as they seek to resolve a long-festering border dispute.
Leaders from the two nuclear-armed neighbours pledged last May to cool their border dispute, which dates back to a brief border war in 1962, although a messy territorial disagreement remains.
The two armies practised handling scenarios like rescuing trapped herders on Saturday, according to a statement posted on China’s Ministry of Defence website.
“The exercises are designed to implement the Chinese-India border cooperation agreement, to jointly safeguard peace and stability in these areas,” the statement said.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang agreed at a meeting in May to start annual visits between their militaries, expand exchanges between border commanders and start using a military hotline.
China lays claim to more than 90,000 sq km (35,000 sq miles) ruled by New Delhi in the eastern sector of the Himalayas. India says China occupies 38,000 sq km (14,600 sq miles) of its territory on the Aksai Chin plateau in the west.
India is also suspicious of China’s support for its arch-rival, Pakistan.
Reporting by Brenda Goh; Editing by Ben Blanchard and Paul Tait