NEW DELHI: India emphasized the importance of “recognizing the legitimate interests of partners”,
an oblique reference to China’s actions against India, during a special meeting of the RIC (Russia-India-China) trilateral grouping on Tuesday. (trilateral)
Even though bilateral references were not allowed, foreign minister S Jaishankar, in his terse remarks, said, “The challenge today is not just one of concepts and norms, but equally of their practice.
The leading voices of the world must be exemplars in every way. Respecting international law, recognizing the legitimate interests of partners,
supporting multilateralism, and promoting the common good is the only way of building a durable world order.” (trilateral)
Given that the virtual meeting was happening in the backdrop of unprecedented tensions between India and China, it was clear that India’s heart was not in it. (trilateral)
There was no joint statement nor a press release at the end of the meeting, which was unusual, but in the circumstances, India’s reluctance to associate with any joint approach with China was made clear.
Jaishankar’s remarks centered around the injustice to India in 75 years of the existing world order beginning from the end of World War II. “This historical injustice has stood uncorrected for the last 75 years,
even as the world has changed… it is important for the world to realize both the contribution that India made and the need to rectify the past,” he said, putting out India’s new mantra of “reformed multilateralism”.
Interestingly, Jaishankar also referred to the fact that during World War II, India (then British India) had kept the supply lines open to both Russia and China.
In 2020, China weaponized its own supply lines during the Covid-19 outbreak, leaving most countries scrambling when they shut down supplies.
“We helped keep key supply lines open to both your countries, one through the Persian corridor and the other over the Himalayan hump,” he said.
In his remarks, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow would support the Indian initiative, the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism, in the UNSC.
He said, “We are united by our rejection of unilateral methods in international relations, especially when these methods are applied by force.”