The recent spat over the South China Sea came up for discussion at a meeting between the Indian and Chinese Foreign Ministers here on Friday.

Meeting for an hour on the sidelines of the Russia-India-China (RIC) trilateral conference, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna and Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi stressed the need for an early meeting on the Maritime Dialogue to smooth out rough spots.

Explaining India's position ahead of his meeting with the Chinese Minister, Mr. Krishna said trade ways in international waters were open for all countries. As for ONGC exploring oil in the South China Sea, it was a purely commercial activity without any political connotations. “If there are territorial disputes it's for those parties involved to sort them out,” he said.

Official sources said the two Ministers also felt that the contours of the dialogues on Central Asia, West Asia and Africa should be finalised soon. It is in these regions that the interests of India and China intersect. The two sides also agreed to resume India-China dialogue on Disarmament and Non-Proliferation.

Infrastructure projects

Mr. Yang assured Mr. Krishna that China would encourage its companies to invest in infrastructure projects in India.

According to official sources, Mr. Krishna raised the case of Indian traders in Shanghai who were involved in a commercial dispute in Yiwu and suggested that the matter be brought to a speedy and satisfactory resolution. Mr. Yang said he took the Indian concerns seriously.

There was a wide-ranging discussion on various issues, which were on the agenda of the Security Council, including Syria and North Korea.

The Ministers agreed that it was important for the Permanent Missions in New York to work together on these issues in the next few days.

Growing trade

The two Foreign Ministers agreed that bilateral cooperation in the year of India-China Friendship and Cooperation was growing and it was important to maintain this momentum, the sources said.

Mr. Yang invited Mr. Krishna to visit China.