India and China had issued statements directing against each other after Dalai Lama’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh last month. Now, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi refused to come to Delhi to attend the Russia-India-China (RIC) foreign ministers’ trilateral meeting, according to The Indian Express report. The RIC ministerial meeting will be hosted by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, the report says. Notably, the meeting was scheduled to be held in Delhi on April 14.
Last month China had said that it has an ‘open attitude’ for cooperation with India and Russia in the defence sector, downplaying reports that it has turned down a Russian proposal for a trilateral meet keeping Pakistan’s sensitivities in mind “China has an open attitude towards China-Russia-India cooperation in defence and is willing to maintain communication with all parties on meeting of leaders of ministries of defence of the three countries,” Chinese Defence Ministry said in a written response to PTI. The Ministry was responding to a query about reports that China had turned down a Russian proposal for the trilateral meet scheduled later this month apparently keeping the sensitivities of Pakistan in mind as well as New Delhi’s decision to permit the visit of the Dalai Lama to Arunachal Pradesh, which Beijing claims as part of Southern Tibet, the PTI report says.
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The Indian side tried to accommodate Wang and also suggested alternate dates later in April — between April 20 and 30. Chinese side, however, did not agree to attend the meeting even then. Sources said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had confirmed his participation and was ready to visit India, but he was asked by the Indian side to hold on. The meeting was finally cancelled, the PTI report says.
China officially conveyed that the minister’s schedule did not permit him to attend the trilateral meeting. But The Indian Express report says the Chinese diplomats made it clear privately that Beijing was “extremely upset” with India over the Dalai Lama’s visit.