New Delhi: External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar will hold trilateral talks on Tuesday through video conference with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi and Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov as part of the RIC (Russia-India-China) meet chaired by Russia at the foreign ministerial level. Bilateral issues such as the raging Sino-Indian border tensions will not be part of the agenda of the meet which will focus on the RIC response to the COVID pandemic.
The meet also underscores the crucial role that the Russians are playing now in the RIC, given the deadly clash exactly a week ago between Indian and Chinese troops at the Galwan valley in the Ladakh sector. It is also being seen with great significance that Russia—the current RIC Chair---has shown a great deal of interest in ensuring RIC dialogue at a time when two of the RIC members are at loggerheads over border issues.
Last Wednesday, Russian Ambassador to India Nikolay Kudashev had tweeted, “The existence of the RIC is an undisputable reality, firmly fixed on the world map. As for the current stage of the trilateral cooperation, there are no indications that it might be frozen.” The Russian Ambassador had also referred to India as a “strategic parter” while welcoming Defence Minister Rajnath Singh to Moscow on Tuesday to witness the “Great Victory Day Military Parade” there to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the erstwhile Soviet victory over Nazi Germany in the second world war in 1945.
It may be recalled that following the deadly clash that took place between Indian and Chinese troops on the night of June 15, Jaishankar had also spoken to his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on June 17 and both sides had agreed to de-escalate the situation. This will therefore be the second time in less than a week that the Indian and Chinese foreign ministers will be interacting, albeit on a trilateral agenda this time.
Last Thursday, MEA Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava had said, “The RIC meeting is scheduled on June 23. Russia is the Chair this year. Russia has called for a special session of the RIC to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the victory in the second world war over Nazism and creation of the UN. It will be the first meeting of the RIC Foreign Ministers that will be taking place through video conferencing. The EAM will be participating in this meeting. (On) the agenda, the three ministers are expected to discuss the current situation of the global pandemic and the challenges of global security, financial stability and RIC cooperation in that context.”
Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov was quoted last week by the Russian media as saying, “The RIC agenda does not involve discussing issues that relate to bilateral relations of a country with another member of this format.”...