Russia-India-China format should be revived: Moscow

Russia-India-China format should be revived: Moscow

Moscow, June 26 : Russia on Wednesday showed its keenness to revive the trilateral format of cooperation with India and China but hinted that the Ladakh border row was standing in the way.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said here that the Russia-India-China (RIC) format would benefit all three nations if they develop common approaches.

RIC, originally an idea of Russia floated in 1998, took shape in early 2000s and its first Summit meeting took place in 2006.

Soon after, it was expanded to include Brazil to make it Brazil-Russia-India-China (BRIC). In the subsequent years, South Africa was also roped in and the four-nation grouping got converted into a five-nation grouping – Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (BRICS).

The formation of BRICS reduced the importance of RIC, with its 2nd Summit meeting taking place in 2018, even though Foreign Ministerial meetings took place regularly till 2021.

The military aggression carried out by China on the Ladakh border in 2020 has cast a deep shadow on this grouping.

“Russia, China, and India would benefit from enhancing trilateral cooperation under the RIC format, which emerged before BRICS,” Lavrov said at an event here, while noting that there are plans to revive this trilateral format.

The Russian Foreign Minister, who was responding when asked about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s likely visit to Moscow next month, said, “The desire to maintain trilateral cooperation is evident in both Beijing and New Delhi.”

He went on to add, “I am convinced that we will all benefit if this trio develops common approaches and strives to adopt unified positions on key issues of the Eurasian continent and the global agenda.”

He stated that “the West seeks to obstruct this” (progress of the RIC).

“Frankly, the West wants the opposite. The West wants this trio never to strengthen its solidarity or present a united front. The West wants to undermine this trio in every possible way,” he said.

“We still believe that in such tense moments, it is much more useful to talk to each other. We proposed gathering the RIC trio about a year ago and recently revisited this idea. But for now, our Indian friends think that the situation on the border needs to be fully resolved first. We understand them,” Lavrov said.

He called India as Russia’s oldest strategic partner and a key priority for his country.

Lavrov said 60% of Russia’s trade with India is now in national (Rupee-Ruble) currencies.

UNI

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