‘India-China relations a factor of stability amid global uncertainty’

Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar on Tuesday said while India and China had several differences, PM Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping had “reached a consensus” on two points during their meeting on June 8 in Astana, namely, “At a time of global uncertainty, India-China relations are a factor of stability; and in their relationship, India and China must not allow differences to become disputes.”

Dr. Jaishankar was responding to questions on the current border standoff in Sikkim after his lecture at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy on the subject “India-ASEAN and the Changing Geopolitics”.

However, he did not refer to the next meeting between the two leaders in Hamburg at the G-20 summit, which China said was not a “bilateral”, though the MEA has said the leaders had covered a “wide range of issues” during the meeting.

Despite the two leaders meeting each other twice since trouble began when Chinese PLA teams reportedly demolished Indian bunkers in the Doklam plateau (called Doko La in Bhutan, which claims the whole), and then sent in road construction teams, the stand-off has now entered its second month.

Since then, Bhutan and India have jointly countered China’s claims that it was only operating in its territory, and according to officials, Indian and Chinese soldiers now stand face-to-face on the contested plateau, pitching tents there in an indication they could be there for the “long haul”.

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