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China, India Alliance to End Longstanding Dispute

BY Admin  April 11, 2005 at 1:30 PM EDT

Indian Premier Manmohan Singh met with Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao to pledge trade and economic cooperation, as well as to end a decades-long dispute over a 2,200-mile stretch of land that runs through the Himalayas, from Kashmir to Myanmar.

“We are going to put in place a bridge of friendship linking our two countries, a bridge that will lead both of us to the future,” Wen told reporters, according to Reuters.

The pair agreed to “guiding principles” aimed at settling the border disagreement, sparked by a short war in 1962 over 38,000 square kilometers in Kashmir. India claimed China was occupying the territory after it was illegally ceded by Pakistan in the 1950s, ABC News reported. China has in turn claimed 90,000 square kilometers in the Indian-administered state of Arunachal Pradesh.

Sing and Wen signed several agreements that would provide for more passenger flights between the two nations, expanded military cooperation and expanded trade cooperation.

Regional analysts point to improving relations between the two nuclear powers as well as both nations’ rapid economic development as catalysts for the summit. Much of Chinese and Indian economic development is due to rapid increases in technology and a strong labor force. Wen called on the pair to capitalize on complementary IT sectors — China’s hardware expertise and India’s specialty in software — to create an “Asian century of the IT industry,” Reuters reported.

The countries’ combined heft on political matters is expected to benefit both. China will support India’s bid for a seat in the U.N. Security Council and the two nations plan to increase cooperation in energy markets.

Singh said he has high expectations for the pact. “India and China can together reshape the world order,” he said, according to the Associated Press.