As the Doklam standoff continues between India and China, foreign secretary S Jaishankar has sought to ease tensions with the neighbouring country.
The Chinese foreign ministry has continued to avoid speaking about the brief meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Hamburg on the sidelines of an informal interaction between the BRICS leaders.
But Jaishankar did refer to the bilateral meeting between the two leaders on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in Astana earlier this year, pointing out that Modi and Xi had reached a consensus on two key points:
1. That “at a time of global uncertainty, India-China relations are a factor of stability”, and
2. “In their relationship, India and China must not allow differences to become disputes.”
In his lecture focussing on India and the ASEAN in Singapore, Jaishankar explained how “this consensus underlines the strategic maturity with which the two countries must continue to approach each other,” in a message to Chinese, who have been sending tough messages through the state-run media.
Jaishankar also said it would be ill-advised to look at the Indo-China relationship in black and white. “The India-China relationship by now has acquired so many dimensions and so much substance that reducing it to black and white argumentation cannot be a serious proposition,“ Jaishankar said.
On the ever-evolving positions taken by the US, and the uncertainty and unease in global diplomatic community since Donald Trump replaced Barack Obama in the White House, Jaishankar sought to allay the fears of the South East Asian countries.
“Let us be clear what is not happening: the US is not withdrawing from the world,” Jaishankar said. “On the contrary, it is seeking to get what it hopes to be a better deal from the rest of the world.”