NEW DELHI: External Affairs Minister, Dr S Jaishankar, while highlighting the key points during the BRICS foreign ministers (FM) meeting (held virtually today)said members must respect territorial integrity. This statement comes at a time when reports based on satellite images suggests that China has begun to construct a second bridge across the Pangong Lake.
"We have had talks at various levels with China, including when China’s foreign minister Wang Yi visited India in March. Dr Jaishankar shared India’s expectations of China with Wang Yi. Frictions and tensions have emerged from Chinese deployment since April 2020 and that cannot be reconciled. We will continue to engage with China through diplomatic and military talks. We cannot comment on what the construction is on occupied territory – not sure whether it is another bridge or an extension of the earlier one - we are monitoring and will share updates,’’ said Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson, Arindam Bagchi.
Meanwhile, at the BRICS FM meeting today Dr Jaishankar highlighted eight key points.
"BRICS has repeatedly affirmed respect for soverign equality, territorial integrity and international law. We must live up to these commitments,’’ Dr Jaishankar said adding that BRICS must display zero tolerance for terrorism specially cross border terrorism.
The other key points included seeking socio-economic recovery from Covid pandemic and creating resilient and reliable supply chains. The knock-on effects of the Ukraine conflict have led to increase in costs of food, energy and commodities. This must be mitigated for the developing world.
"BRICS should unanimously and specifically support UN Security Council reform. Together we should press for credible commitment of resources by developed nations for climate action and climate justice. A globalized and digitized world will enable transparency and sustainable goals must be approached,’’ Dr Jaishankar added.
The meeting was chaired by China’s FM, Wang Yi, FM of Brazil, Carlos Alberto Franco Franca, FM Russia Sergey Lavrov and Minister of International Relations South Africa Grace Naledi Mandisa Pandor.
The ministers exchanged views on furthering intra-BRICS cooperation on the three pillars of political and security, economic and finance and people to people and cultural exchanges.
Ukraine also came up for discussion and all ministers supported talks between Russia and Ukraine. They also expressed concern at the energy and food security implications of the conflict.
The date for the BRICS Summit isn’t out yet. Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, is expected to attend it as it would be an in-person Summit. The military build up around the LAC will continue to be a sore point for India, and whether India can successfully counter it diplomatically or militarily only time will tell.