China should avoid viewing its ties with India from the perspective of other countries, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar told his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on Thursday. Jaishankar met Wang on the sidelines of a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation at Dushanbe, Tajikistan.

The external affairs minister said that India and China had to “deal with each other on merits” and establish a relationship based on mutual respect.

“EAM [Jaishankar] conveyed that India had never subscribed to any clash of civilisations theory,” a press release issued by the external affairs ministry stated.

Two days earlier, Chief of Defence Staff Bipin Rawat had remarked that India must prepare to deal with “adversaries” on both fronts, according to The Hindu. He had also noted China’s stance on Afghanistan, and Beijing “making friends” with Iran and Turkey, terming it a “jointmanship between the Sinic and Islamic civilisations”.

Rawat reportedly asked whether this could lead to a “clash of civilisations” with western countries.

The two sides on Thursday discussed the situation along the Line of Actual Control in Eastern Ladakh, as also other global developments.

Jaishankar on Thursday noted that since the last such meeting on July 14, there had been some progress in the “resolution of some issues” along the Line of Actual Control, but added that some matters still remained to be resolved.

According to the external affairs ministry’s statement, Jaishankar “recalled that Foreign Minister Wang Yi had in their last meeting noted that the bilateral relations were at low ebb.” He said that the two sides should resolve the remaining issues along the LAC as soon as possible.

In May 2020, Chinese troops clashed with the Indian Army at several points along the Line of Actual Control.

Tensions between India and China escalated further after a violent face-off on June 15, 2020. The two countries have held several rounds of military and diplomatic talks to resolve the matter.

The SCO comprises China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India and Pakistan. The grouping will hold its 21st summit on Friday at Dushanbe, PTI reported.

Jaishankar and Wang had met on the sidelines of the SCO summit last year as well. The two sides had agreed on a five-point plan to defuse tensions between the countries and said the situation in the border areas of Ladakh was not in the interest of either side.

“The two ministers agreed that both sides shall abide by all the existing agreements and protocol on China-India boundary affairs, maintain peace and tranquility in the border areas and avoid any action that could escalate matters,” a joint press statement at the time said.

‘China-India relations follow their own intrinsic logic’, says Beijing

Beijing on Friday agreed with Jaishankar’s remarks that it should not view its ties with New Delhi through the perspective of a third country, saying that India and China’s relations follow their own “intrinsic logic”, reported PTI.

“China and India are both important Asian countries,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said at a press briefing when asked about Jaishankar’s remarks. “For the two countries to develop relations there is an inherent necessary logic.”

Zhao added: “China-India relations do not target any third party and are not based on any third party.”

In a statement, Wang noted that the talks between the foreign ministries and the military of both the countries have been effective, resulting in gradual de-escalation of the situation in the border areas.

The foreign minister said that he hopes India will meet China halfway to shift the situation at the border from dispute settlement to management and control.

“Both sides need to consolidate the disengagement results of the front-line troops, and strictly abide by the protocols and agreements and the consensus reached between the two countries, to jointly safeguard the peace and tranquility of the border area and prevent the recurrence of border-related issues,” Wang said.