Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar on Tuesday said India and China must not allow their differences to escalate into disputes, ANI reported. Speaking at an event in Singapore, the foreign secretary said he was confident that India would handle the current standoff with China in the Doklam plateau.

“We are all aware by now of the complexity inherent in the near simultaneous rise of two major powers, that too in close proximity,” Jaishankar told the gathering. “In a time of global uncertainty, India-China relations are a factor of stability.” He said the Sino-Indian relationship had acquired many dimensions and that reducing it to black and white cannot “be a serious proposition”.

The foreign secretary stressed on the interdependence between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the Sino-Indian relationship. “In this changing landscape, few would dispute that evolving India-China relationship has a direct implication for ASEAN, globally,” ANI quoted Jaishankar as saying. “It is not only India and China that have stakes in each other, world and especially the ASEAN has vested interest in this matter.”

The Sikkim standoff

India and China have both maintained that troops from the other country had transgressed into their territory in the Sikkim sector’s Doklam area. Bilateral ties have been strained since the Indian Army stopped China from constructing a road in the region. New Delhi has made it clear that it will not allow China to construct a motorable road up to the Sikkim-Bhutan-Tibet tri-junction through the Doklam plateau.

The Kailash Mansarovar Yatra through the Nathu La pass in Sikkim was also cancelled amid the continuing standoff.

Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi had added another dimension to the debate with reports of his July 8 meeting with the Chinese ambassador. While the nature of the meeting was questioned by several sections of the media and society, Gandhi said it was his “job to be informed on critical issues”.

The Congress leader had also posted a 2014 picture showing Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Chinese President Xi Jinping, saying: “For the record, I am not the guy sitting on the swing while a thousand Chinese troops had physically entered India.”