Multilateral forums will be an ideal platform for India and China to iron out differences: Russia

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Amid the escalating tension at the India-China border, Russia’s deputy envoy to India has said the SCO and RIC meetings in Moscow this week will provide an opportunity to both nations to create an atmosphere for engagement, leading to a “mutually acceptable solution”.

Russia has been playing a quiet role in defusing the military tension that has built up between India and China since June after the Galwan incident left 20 Indian military personnel dead.

“Russia is hopeful and will be happy to see that India and China reach common ground in these meetings and reach mutually acceptable solution,” Russian deputy envoy Roman Babushkin told some reporters on Tuesday, as Indian foreign minister S Jaishankar left for Moscow. “SCO-BRICS-RIC provides opportunities for practical cooperation between member states. RIC foreign ministers are also expected to meet in Moscow.”

Babushkin emphasised that Russia is hopeful of a “positive development” on the border row in eastern Ladakh. “Constructive relationship between our Indian and Chinese friends is very important to promote regional dialogue on stability and sustainable development,” he said.

Russia, the diplomat said, is looking forward to further expanding its interaction with India and China at the upcoming meetings. The SCO Foreign Ministers meet will firm up the SCO Summit dates and deliverables.

While Jaishankar is expected to meet Russian foreign minister S Lavrov in Moscow on Wednesday, the meeting with his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, is planned for Thursday.

Last week, defence minister Rajnath Singh had met his Chinese counterpart on the sidelines of the SCO meet.

On whether the delivery of the S-400 missile systems to India will be delayed due to the coronavirus crisis, Babushkin said both sides are dedicated to timely implementation of all current agreements, including those with regard to supply of S-400 systems to India. Moscow is also considering Singh’s request for expediting the delivery of the system.

On US President Donald Trump’s pitch last week for expansion of the G7 grouping by including India, Russia, Australia and South Korea, Babushkin said the grouping appears to have outlived its purpose, and that blocs like the G20 were equipped to deal with the key challenges facing the world.

“This proposal by President Trump was also discussed during his recent telephone conversation with President Vladimir Putin. While taking note of this initiative, generally we share the opinion that when it comes to global challenges and dialogue on global governance, G7 seems to be out of date, and more representative mechanisms are required such as G20,” he said.

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