India and China today agreed to “jointly deal with security threats” and take measures to strengthen cooperation in combating terrorism during their first dialogue on counter-terrorism and security here, amid Indo-Pak tensions following the Uri terror attack.

Seen as a significant step forward in anti-terror cooperation following differences over India’s bid to get Jaish-e-Muhammed chief Masood Azhar designated as a terrorist by the UN, top intelligence officials from both sides held candid discussions about stepping up cooperation in counter-terrorism. “The two sides exchanged views on the international and regional security situation,” an Indian Embassy statement said of the talks.

“They exchanged information on respective policies, systems and legislation to deal with terrorism, and further enhance their understanding on issues of major concerns to both sides,” the statement said.

“The two sides had in-depth discussions on enhancing cooperation in counter-terrorism and security and on measures to jointly deal with security threats and reached important consensus in this regard,” it said.

China’s state-run Xinhua news agency said the two sides exchanged opinions on the international and regional security situation and their respective anti-terrorism systems, mechanisms and legislation.

“They reached consensus on measures to strengthen cooperation and to jointly deal with security threats,” it said, citing a document issued after the meeting. The talks were held at high-level as the meeting was co-chaired by R N Ravi, Chairman of Joint Intelligence Committee from India, and Wang Yongqing, Secretary General of Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission of China.

Significantly in his talks with Ravi, top Chinese Interior Ministry official Meng Jianzhu, who is the head of the Commission for Political and Legal Affairs of the ruling Communist Party, said that terrorism is a common enemy of the global community. He said that strengthening counter-terrorism cooperation between China and India was conducive to the interests of the people of both countries.

He voiced hope that the two sides could put into action counter-terrorism collaboration and protect regional security and that of the two countries, the Xinhua report said, adding that he commended stable progress in Sino-Indian ties. The talks were a follow up to the decision reached during last year’s visit of Home Minister Rajnath Singh to Beijing.

Both sides had decided to form a Ministerial Committee and another by Joint Secretary-level mechanism to periodically meet and review the cooperation on terrorism, cyber security, cross border crimes and drug trafficking. Officials regard the talks on anti-terrorism significant as the dialogue was held in the backdrop of Beijing, a close ally of Pakistan, seeking to strike a balance between the two countries in the aftermath of the Uri attack.

China has distanced itself from remarks made by Premier Li Keqiang backing Islamabad on Kashmir and its envoy meeting Pakistan’s Punjab province Chief Minister.