Both countries use latest strategic economic dialogue in New Delhi to focus on areas such as drug development and technology

China and India have pledged to step up their cooperation in areas such as the economy, technology and drug development despite ongoing tensions over issues such as Kashmir.

The two countries concluded the sixth India-China Strategic Economic Dialogue held in New Delhi on Monday, saying it had “strengthened communication and the exchange of views”, according to state news agency Xinhua.

The dialogue came about a month before a visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping to India for an informal summit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Under the dialogue established in 2010 to address economic and commercial issues, there are six joint working groups covering infrastructure, energy, technology, resource conservation, pharmaceuticals and policy coordination.

“Both sides agreed on cooperation in research and development for developing new technology for manufacturing solar cells … [and to] explore cooperation for promoting Indian generic drugs and Chinese APIs [active pharmaceutical ingredients],” the National Institution for Transforming India, a state-backed think tank, said.

India is the largest provider of generic medicines globally while China is a major source for APIs – the raw materials used in drug production.

Despite the promises of economic cooperation, Beijing has criticised as “unacceptable” India’s decision last month to strip Jammu and Kashmir of its special status and repeatedly stressed its support for Pakistan, its long-standing ally.

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Both India and Pakistan claim the whole of Kashmir, which was partitioned after the end of British rule in 1948, and have fought a number of wars over the territory.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who is visiting Pakistan and Nepal this week, also originally planned visit to New Delhi but the meeting has been rescheduled, according to Indian media reports.

China also formally backed Pakistan’s request for the United Nations Security Council to hold “closed consultations” on the revocation of the state’s autonomy.

Zhao Gancheng, a South Asia studies specialist at the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies, said neither India nor China wanted to let the Kashmir dispute get in the way of their gradually improving relations.

“The Kashmir issue does affect China-India relations, and Beijing has already made a clear stance that it disagrees with India’s decision. However, the impact is limited, because it is not in China’s interest to let the turbulent India-Pakistan relations drive its relations with either of the countries,” Zhao said.

“I do not see any trend that suggests this issue is affecting the regular cooperation between China and India.”

Li Li, a South Asia specialist at Tsinghua University, argued that China and India wanted to prioritise economic cooperation.

“At a time when uncertainties are looming large in global economy, it is in both countries’ interest to set aside differences and focus on economic cooperation … the differences [in China-India relations] are difficult to resolve in a short time anyway,” she said.

Both Beijing and New Delhi have been working to repair their relationship over the past two years following a 73-day stand-off between their armed forces at Doklam, near the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, which China claims as part of Tibet.