Indian and Chinese security forces were locked in a confrontation on their countries’ disputed border Wednesday as China’s president arrived in India on a trip aimed at boosting economic ties between the two Asian giants.
In the Himalayan region of Ladakh, Indian troops faced off against Chinese soldiers who last week began building a road in an area that India regards as its territory, an Indian official said.
Friction along the two nations’ 2,200-mile-long border, much of which is undefined and contested, has mounted in recent years, India says. And it poses a serious hurdle to improving relations between Delhi and Beijing.
On Wednesday, however, the two sides seemed intent on deepening trade and investment links despite significant strategic misgivings, such as India’s unease at China’s increased Indian Ocean presence, and Beijing’s concerns about India’s growing ties with Japan and the U.S.
Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met and signed a multibillion-dollar agreement for Chinese investment in an industrial park in Mr. Modi’s home state of Gujarat. Indian and Chinese companies signed $3.43 billion in deals.
On the first day of Mr. Xi’s three-day visit, the two leaders talked, walked and watched folk dancing in a riverfront park in the western city of Ahmedabad. Mr. Xi donned an Indian-style vest.
In an op-ed in the Hindu newspaper Wednesday, Mr. Xi wrote that China and India have worked together to maintain peace in the border area and that the two nations “need to become cooperation partners spearheading growth” in Asia.
Mr. Modi is eager to win Chinese investment to help fund his efforts to improve India’s infrastructure, build a manufacturing base and expand the country’s economy. But the border disputes complicate matters for the Indian leader as he opens India’s doors to Chinese money. Mr. Modi has vowed to be tough on security issues and criticized the previous government as being weak.