Speaking in the “virtual” presence of his Chinese counterpart at a “Special” Russia-India-China (RIC) trilateral meet at the foreign ministerial level through video-conference, External Affairs Minister, in a veiled dig at China, said “leading voices” of the world must “respect international law and recognise the legitimate interests of partners”.
Historical injustice has stood uncorrected for the last 75 years:
Pressing India’s claims to permanent membership of the UNSC in an oblique manner, the EAM said India’s contributions at the time of the end of the second world war had not been duly recognised by the victors of that time and that “historical injustice” had then been meted out to India which should now be corrected.
Speaking at the “Special” RIC meet to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the conclusion of the Second World War as well as the foundation of the United Nations, EAM minister, “This Special Meeting reiterates our belief in the time-tested principles of international relations.
But 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 common good are the only way of building a durable world order.”
About Russia-India-China (RIC):
RIC came together as a strategic triangle in the late 1990s under the mentorship of Yevgeny Primakov as “a counterbalance to the Western alliance.”
The Russian goal was the “end[ing] its foreign policy guided by the US,” and rebuilding old partnerships with countries like India nurturing relatively newer friendships such as with China.
While this may have fitted at least partially with India’s goals in those years, it is unclear if this fits with Indian objectives now as New Delhi increases its strategic engagements with the United States and American allies.
Indeed, India’s growing strategic partnership with the United States, Japan, and Australia conflicts with the RIC’s goals and objectives of seeking to undermine Washington’s role in the Indo-Pacific.
Washington’s support to India on a number of critical issues, demonstrated most recently when China attempted to raise the Kashmir issue at the UN Security Council, is important.
In fact, it is the rise of China that is at the front and center of many of India’s strategic engagements.
Recognising the legitimate interests of partners:
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, recognising the legitimate interests of partners, supporting multilateralism and promoting common good are the only way of building a durable world order.
A violent face-off between Indian and Chinese troops in eastern Ladakh’s Galwan Valley on June 15 had left 20 Indian soldiers dead – the country’s first fatalities in a confrontation along the contested Line of Actual Control (LAC) in 45 years.
China has repeatedly sought to blame India for the tensions, saying Indian troops had crossed to the Chinese side of the LAC.
It has also claimed sovereignty over the Galwan Valley in Ladakh, though the region has been under India’s control for decades.
Need to respect ethos of international law:
- According to reports, the meeting will possibly discuss the recently-concluded Afghanistan peace deal, the return of the Quad (quadrilateral security dialogue involving Australia, India, Japan and the United States), the Indo-Pacific concept and the implications of the end of the INF (Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces) Treaty for the region.
- The last RIC leaders meeting took place on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit in Osaka in July 2019, just after another trilateral between three democracies – Japan, America, and India (JAI).
- India has traditionally avoided taking sides in international politics, especially between the great powers, preferring its traditional nonalignment.
- But China’s rather hostile attitude towards India in recent years is increasingly forcing Indian decisionmakers to confront what China’s growing power has come to mean for India.
- The 72-day long Doklam crisis, China’s repeated actions at the United Nations, and other forums appears to demonstrate that China is aggressive and unfriendly towards India.
- This makes it difficult to see how engagements through platforms such as RIC, the Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (BRICS), or the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) are going to alter the basic conflictual nature of relations between India and China.
- Overall, India’s strategic goals appear to be increasingly incongruent with that of Russia and China.
- As another case in point, even as the three foreign ministers will be meeting to discuss the Afghan peace deal, Moscow did not invite India to the recent meeting it hosted on Afghanistan.
- For all the rhetoric on finding a regional solution to Afghanistan, India has been kept out of such deliberations at the behest possibly of China and Pakistan.
- While there is merit to India engaging both Russia and China, it cannot mask the fact that there are growing tensions within the RIC grouping.
Thanking time-tested Russia for convening the meeting, the EAM added, “When the victors met to fashion the ensuing global order, the political circumstances of that era did not give India due recognition.
This historical injustice has stood uncorrected for the last 75 years, even as the world has changed.
Pressing India’s claims, Jaishankar said, But beyond history, international affairs must also come to terms with contemporary reality.
The United Nations began with 50 members; today it has 193. Surely, its decision making cannot continue to be in denial of this fact.
We, the RIC countries, have been active participants in shaping the global agenda. It is India’s hope that we will also now converge on the value of reformed multilateralism.
Therefore, on this momentous occasion, it is important for the world to realize both the contribution that India made and the need to rectify the past.