NEW DELHI: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar will participate in a virtual conference of the Russia-India-China (RIC) trilateral on Tuesday in the backdrop of escalating Sino-India tensions.India was not keen to be a part of the dialogue after the violent face-off along the LAC where 20 Indian soldiers lost their lives, sources said. Jaishankar agreed to be a part of the talks upon the insistence of the host, Moscow.
Sources, however, did not deny the possibility of a meeting between Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and his Chinese counterpart in Moscow. Singh is in Russia on a three-day tour to attend the victory parade for World War-II.
Russia has so far taken a cautious and measured approach to the situation and urged both countries to resolve their disputes through dialogue. According to the experts, the India-China border issue is not expected to feature at the conference.
“It is convention not to take up bilateral issues at multi lateral platforms like BRICS, SCO and RIC. It’s unlikely that the issue will be brought up during the meetings of the three foreign ministers,” sinologist and chairperson of the Centre for Chinese and South Asian Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), BR Deepak said. Though there would not be any official line on the issue at the conference, Russia may unofficially try to persuade both nations to peacefully resolve the issue, he said.
A former diplomat said, “There could be informal discussions with regard to the India-China border situation on the table but formally the issue will not be broached.”
The trilateral discussions are likely to revolve around the political situation in Afghanistan following the US-Taliban peace deal and on key connectivity projects including the International North South Transport Corridor aimed at connecting Iran, Afghanistan and India to Central Europe.