With oceanic development gathering pace and expanding mineral exploration in the Indian Ocean, China has sought co-operation with India on deep seabed mining, according to the China Ocean Mineral Resource R&D Association.
According to He Zongyu, deputy director of the association, China and India were both developing countries and contractors with the International Seabed Authority (ISA), so they had a lot in common and plenty of opportunities for further co-operation.
The association, which is China's official organisation, undertakes exploration and development of ocean floor and subsoil.
Chen Lianzeng, deputy director of China's State Oceanic Administration, had visited India on 20 April and called for enhancing India-China co-operation on oceanic research and development.
He said co-operation would help the two countries share the costs, the risks and the benefits.
He said the two countries were on about the same level in terms of development of deep seabed mining which made India an ideal partner.
He said, deep seabed mining was high-cost and high-risk work, with costs for a mining site topped 10 billion yuan.
China's cooperation proposal comes against the backdrop of the completion of the 118-day voyage of the China's deep-sea manned submersible Jiaolong in the southwest Indian Ocean where it discovered large deposits of precious metals like gold and silver, it was reported.
With the latest mission in March, Jiaolong successfully carried out 13 dives observing different hydrothermal areas, the characteristics of hydrothermal fluids and deep-sea biodiversity, gathering a huge amount of data and over 700 samples.
The surprise proposal comes ahead of the scheduled visit of prime minister, Narendra Modi from 14 May, during which he would hold formal and informal talks with Chinese president Xi Jinping and premier Li Keqiang in Xi'an and Beijing.