The key to a more settled Sino-Indian relationship is greater acceptance by both countries of multipolarity and mutuality, building on a larger foundation of global rebalancing, says External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar.
In his recently-released book "The India Way: Strategies for an Uncertain World", he also says that India is not the only country focused on coming to terms with China as the entire world is doing so, each nation refashioning its terms of engagement in its own way. The external affairs minister, however, had written this book before the military standoff in eastern Ladakh began in early May.
"If there is a common approach, it is of them simultaneously strengthening capacities internally, assessing the external landscape and seeking understandings with China. In this overall exercise, India will occupy a special place by virtue of its size, location, potential, history and culture," Jaishankar writes.
He says this book, published by HarperCollins India, was developed in the course of the last two years through a series of events and lectures given at think tanks, conferences or business forums form its core.
According to Jaishankar, much has changed, mostly to India's disadvantage, since November 1950, when Sardar Patel and Jawaharlal Nehru had a famous exchange of views on how to approach China.
"The key issues - realism versus optimism and bilateralism versus globalism - remain as relevant today as then. Striking a judicious balance is not necessarily easier with the passage of time. But the past also tells us that there is always room for strategy and vision if we are to go beyond politics and constraints. More than on any other relationship in the world today, the long view must prevail," he writes.
He is of the view that the India-China relationship will always take into account the larger context as they establish an equilibrium.
"World events determine not just China's overall attitude but its specific demeanour towards India. Currently, this context is dominated by global frictions and systemic differences. It is, therefore, necessary for India to continuously monitor this larger picture as it calibrates its China relationship," the former diplomat suggests.
He believes China's powerful rise is among the multiple factors that have led to a more uncertain world.
"As the politics of this era evolves, neither country has an interest in allowing the other to become a card against them. Making sure of that will depend on their own policies. One concern is that unlike on the rest of world, India''s rise has been partly lost on a China that has been growing five times faster," he says.
"It is up to India to ensure that its enhanced standing is given due weight," he adds.
Jaishankar also says that the future of the Indo-Pacific lies in a complex range of forces interacting on a continuous basis.
"For India, it will be an important element of its relationship with China and its partnership with the West. New possibilities could be opened up with Russia, whose maritime interests may grow with the viability of Arctic commerce. The importance of the Indo-Pacific to ties with Japan, ASEAN and Australia clearly cannot be underestimated," he writes.
On life after COVID-19, he says India too will be shaped by the broad trends in the global environment that the coronavirus will intensify.
"But more than that, it needs to take into account the more direct consequences of the pandemic. Its destructive impact naturally demands a strategy of national revival. And that, in turn, warrants a fundamental rethink about our growth model," Jaishankar says.