According to an expert's view, “Though politically, Russia may be invested in China more due to the global heft, it attaches great importance to India's strategic economic basket.”
Amid heightened Indo-China tensions along the Line of Actual Control, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh is expected to discuss the issue with his Russian counterpart during his ongoing three-day visit to Moscow. According to an expert’s view, “Though politically, Russia may be invested in China more due to the global heft, it attaches great importance to India’s strategic economic basket.”
Since last week, after the clashes in the Galwan Valley when Indian Army lost 20 of its personnel in violent clash with the Chinese troops, Russia has been in constant touch with both India and China and has favoured dialogue between the two to resolve matters.
Russia is keen to help resolve the current standoff between the two countries through other backend channels, as it enjoys good and strong relations with New Delhi and Beijing.
The visit of the defence minister comes close on the heels of the Russia-India-China (RIC) meet Tuesday, June 23, where external affairs minister S Jaishankar will be interacting with his counterparts from the other two countries.
The ongoing situation between India and China is not on the agenda of talks between the foreign ministers of the Russia-India and China.
Tomorrow, June 24, Wednesday in Moscow, Singh and his Chinese counterpart Wei Fenghe, are scheduled to attend the Victory Day parade where Indian contingent is also participating.
Besides the engagements at the ministerial level, through diplomatic channels there have been two outreaches between India and Russia.
Outreach to Moscow
As has been reported by the Financial Express Online, on June 6, there was an interaction between the Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla and the Ambassador of Russia Nikolay Kudashev. It was an update on the `recent developments’ on the situation along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
Then soon after the major clash between the troops in the Galwan Valley, on June 17 there was an interaction between the Indian Ambassador to Russia D Bala Venkatesh Varma and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov. And according to a statement released by the Russian side the two discussed developments along the LAC, and regional security.
The outreach to Moscow is important as both India and China have been talking at each other and not with each other.
Russia is presently holding the presidency of Russia-India-China (RIC) trilateral group, it is also holding the presidency of the BRICS as well as Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).
Since India and China are members of all these groupings there is a concern in the diplomatic circles that the ongoing tensions between India and China along the Line of Actual Control could impact the groupings.
Due to the global pandemic of COVID-19, Russia is expected to hold the BRICS and SCO summits later this year. For Russia, it prefers to host the summit where there is the physical presence of the leaders, in an effort to defuse the tensions and to ensure that its global outreach is re-affirmed.
India and Russia both enjoy very strong and strategic relations and there has been some concerns of the relations between Moscow and Beijing being hit due to the Coronavirus which had originated in China. Russia also has some concerns related to the position of China on Ukraine.
Due to the global coronavirus pandemic, the meeting was held through video conferencing. India was represented by the external affairs minister S Jaishankar, while China by its Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Sergey Lavrov participated from the Russian side.
Today’s meeting between the three foreign ministers focussed on the post COVID-19 world, regional developments challenges as well as tri-lateral exchanges and other challenges.
According to Ambassador Anil Trigunayat, “Russia has close and strategic partnerships with both China and India. From its point of view the current Sino-Indian clashes and conflict could impinge on its “resolve by dialogue” policy, especially as the US, is becoming increasingly more hawkish against China. It obviously will avoid choosing one over the other. While India and China maintain that they can resolve the problems bilaterally, Russia does use its good offices to ensure that the situation remains below threshold. Our Defence Minister is in Moscow to procure more of Russian fighters and armaments that in any case remains the major area of our collaboration.”
“RIC has remained an important instrument of free and fair exchange of views on issues of mutual concern. Russia has some credibility and trust with both and China and could play a constructive role in the background,” Ambassador Trigunayat adds.