India confirms participation in trilateral with China and Russia on June 23
India on Thursday confirmed its participation in the meeting of foreign ministers of the RIC grouping comprising Russia, India and China to be held on June 23. External affairs ministry spokesperson said that Union minister S Jaishankar will represent India in the trilateral.
Doubts over India’s participation in the meeting in the wake of deaths of 20 Indian soldiers in a violent clash between Indian and Chinese soldiers in eastern Ladakh had been removed on Wednesday when Russia declared that a virtual meeting of foreign ministers of the RIC grouping will be held on June 22.
Russia had recently taken the initiative to organise the virtual meeting this month, as first reported by HT on June 13.
“A video conference of the foreign ministers of the three countries is planned on June 23,” Russian foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova told a media briefing.
The border stand-off with China which has resulted in India warning Beijing of a serious impact on bilateral ties, is not on the agenda of the RIC meeting since the grouping, by convention, doesn’t take up bilateral issues.
“During this, the ministers will exchange their views on global political, economic and financial trends following the [Covid-19] pandemic as well as the opportunities for cooperation to overcome this existing crisis,” Maria Zakharova said, providing a broad outline of the discussions.
The situation in Afghanistan and regional connectivity projects such as the International North South Transport Corridor involving India, Russia and Iran are expected to figure in the agenda.
MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava on Thursday also said that India expects the Chinese side to restrict its activities to the Chinese side of LAC. The message is consistent with India’s allegations that the clash on Monday was a direct result of Chinese soldiers attempting to erect a structure on the Indian side of the LAC in violation of the June 6 agreement reached between the commanders of the two sides.