The state of the border will determine the state of the India-China relationship, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Monday, amid the lingering military standoff between the two countries in eastern Ladakh that significantly strained the ties.
Jaishankar was speaking at the launch of the Asia Society Policy Institute.
Addressing the event, the external affairs minister also spoke on a number of pressing issues including the UN reform, regional cooperation, connectivity and managing contradictions within Asia.
The minister said much of the future of Asia depends on how the relations between India and China develop in the foreseeable future.
"For ties to return to a positive trajectory and remain sustainable, they must be based on the three mutuals: mutual sensitivity, mutual respect, and mutual interest," he said.
"Their current status is, of course, well known to all of you. I can only reiterate that the state of the border will determine the state of the relationship," he added.
Indian and Chinese troops have engaged in a standoff at a number of friction points in eastern Ladakh for over two years. The two sides disengaged in several areas in the region as a result of high-level military talks.
However, both sides are yet to make any breakthrough in ending the face-off in the remaining friction points. The last round of high-level military talks took place last month but failed to ease the deadlock.
The latest comments by Jaishankar on India's ties with China came days after he said Beijing disregarded the border pacts with India casting a shadow on the bilateral ties, asserting that the relationship cannot be a one-way street and that there has to be mutual respect.
"Asia's prospects and challenges are today very much dependent on developments in the Indo-Pacific. In fact, the concept itself is a reflection of divided Asia, as some have a vested interest in keeping the region less cohesive and interactive," Jaishankar said in his address at the Asia Society.
"That the global commons and the international community are better served by collaborative endeavours like the Quad apparently leaves them cold," he said.
The external affairs minister said developing even a basic strategic consensus in Asia is, therefore, clearly a “formidable task.”
"As the international order evolves, this desire to selectively retain elements of the 1945 situation while transforming others – and we see that in the UN as well – complicates world politics," he said.
Jaishankar said "three shocks" of Covid pandemic, Ukraine conflict, and climatic disturbances are also impacting the evolution of the Asian economy.
"Together, they make a powerful case for more engines of growth and resilient and reliable supply chains," he said.
"There is a parallel debate underway in the digital world that focuses around trust and transparency. How these will translate into strategic outcomes is still too early to predict," Jaishankar added.