India sees RIC meeting as gateway to Eurasia

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj andChinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing on Monday.  

India, China and Russia have recommended India’s membership to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) as part of a joint communiqué that seemed to reconcile China and Russia’s growing disenchantment with the United States with India’s interest in gaining a more prominent foothold in Eurasia.

As it received Moscow and Beijing’s backing for an entry into APEC, India endorsed the launch of the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP). Observers say that the China-led initiative is meant to counter the less inclusive Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), another free trade agreement championed by Washington, but which pointedly excludes Beijing.

On Monday, the Chinese got India and Russia to sign on a proposal to have a new U.N.-driven collective security arrangement in the Asia–Pacific that seemed to counter the U.S. “Pivot to Asia” policy, which provides the doctrinal basis for the amassment of forces by Washington and its allies in the Asia-Pacific, seemingly to contain China’s rise.

The tri-nation communiqué steered by visiting Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her counterparts from Russia and China —Sergei Lavrov and Wang Yi — advocated “the development of an open, inclusive, indivisible and transparent security and cooperation architecture in the region on the basis of universally recognised principles of international law.”

As they accelerated their drive to tap oil and gas in Siberia, the three Ministers “explored potential for cooperation in oil and natural gas production and transportation, as well as in other fields of energy, high tech, environmental protection and connectivity”.

China and Russia have already signed a $400 billion long term energy deal that would ensure supply of gas for 30 years to the Beijing-Tianjin –Hibei industrial belt through the “Power of Siberia” pipeline. The two countries have also signed, in principle, a similar agreement that would bring gas from Russia’s Yamal Plateau to China along the western Altai route.

India’s oil giant ONGC Videsh has also been involved in negotiation for a foothold in the Arctic shelf. The joint communiqué also called for the immediate reform of the international financial system to increase the voice and representation of emerging markets and developing countries, with a focus on the implementation of the 2010 IMF Quota and Governance Reform by the end of this year.

The three Ministers stressed the need for international financial institutions to provide more resources to promote development. As the Ukrainian crisis swirls and Moscow faces economic curbs, the three Ministers made it plain that they “opposed forced regime change in any country from the outside or imposition of unilateral sanctions based on domestic laws”.

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Printable version | Aug 3, 2021 4:34:46 AM |

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