External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar with Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi at a meeting in Dushanbe. (PTI Photo)
NEW DELHI: China should not view India through the lens of third countries, external affairs minister S Jaishankar told his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi during their meeting in Dushanbe on Thursday even as he called for complete military disengagement in eastern Ladakh.
Calling for restoration of status quo on the borders, Jaishankar made it clear that bilateral relations would not be restored until this was done, iterating the Indian position since flare-up of military tensions in April last year. But significantly, Jaishankar used the occasion to distance India from Samuel Huntington’s theory of international relations that outlined a “Clash of Civilisations”.
“India had never subscribed to any clash of civilisations theory,” the minister said, according to an MEA readout. “He said that India and China had to deal with each other on merits and establish a relationship based on mutual respect. For this, it was necessary that China avoids viewing our bilateral relations from the perspective of its relations with third countries. Asian solidarity would depend on the example set by India-China relations.”
Chief of defence staff General Bipin Rawat, quoting the “Clash of Civilisations” theory at a lecture at the IIC earlier this week, had said it mentions that the Confucian or ‘Sinic’ civilisation would actually join hands with the Islamic civilisation to counter the western one.
“Whether that is going to happen or not, only time will tell. But we are seeing some kind of ‘jointmanship’ between the Sinic and Islamic civilisations. You can see China is now making friends with Iran, moving towards Turkey and stepping into Afghanistan. They (China) will step into Afghanistan in the time to come very shortly,” Gen Rawat had said.
The Chinese foreign ministry, in its own readout, described the working mechanism and corps commander meetings as “earnest and effective”, and the overall situation in the border area as “gradually de-escalated”. Wang, it said, “hopes that India will meet China halfway to move the situation towards stability and shift it from urgent dispute settlement to regular management and control. Both sides need to consolidate the disengagement results of frontline troops, and strictly abide by the protocols and agreements reached between the two countries, it said.
While some disengagement has happened, there are other friction points that continue to be in contention.