“That (strategic sense) was what triggered the Wuhan summit. We need to do something to change the contemporary narrative,” Jaishankar said while speaking at a session on “India-China Relations: Emerging Trends” at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit here.
Jaishankar was referring to the informal summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping at Wuhan in China in April at the latter’s initiative after Indian and Chinese troops were locked in a standoff at the Doklam on the India-Bhutan-China trijunction for 73 days last year.
“Wuhan was a significant event for China-India ties,” he said but added that he would restrain himself from saying anything more positive.
India and China are now also in talks to update a 12-year-old defence agreement and establish a hotline between their defence ministries.
Jaishankar, who has served as India’s Ambassador to China, said the rise of China is hugely underestimated and is disruptive in the kind of turbulence the world is going through today.
“It is our good fortune that China is our neighbour,” he said.
“The good news is that we woke up about China but the bad news is that we woke up late.”
Jaishankar’s comments came after Huiyao Wang, the Founder and President of the Centre for China and Globalisation, said that India and China must work together on global issues through multilateral fronts like the G20, Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa).
“The rise of India and China is seeing shifts in the world economy,” Huiyao said.
“India and China can work together in the next 10-20 years,” he stated.
However, Jaishankar was of the view that geopolitical issues can’t be put aside when it comes to ties between India and China.
“China used the US in the last 30 years to grow in the international order,” Jaishankar observed.