No business as usual with China: Indian envoy in Moscow

But India will continue participation in BRICS, RIC and SCO, say officials

Updated - July 24, 2020 08:20 pm IST

Published - July 24, 2020 01:39 pm IST - NEW DELHI

D.B. Venkatesh Varma.

D.B. Venkatesh Varma.

India has made it clear to China that it will not be business as usual until there is a complete disengagement along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) , Indian envoy in Moscow D.B. Venkatesh Varma has said. He asserted that India does not believe in trade war with any country. 

Officials, however, said India’s engagement with China on multilateral fora like Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (BRICS), Russia-India-China (RIC) and Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) were expected to continue.

The comments come amid the disengagement process at the LAC that appears to be stalled after an initial pullback by Chinese troops from some of the stand-off areas.

“India seeks to resolve these problems through dialogue and we have made it clear that we will not do business with China as usual until there is a complete disengagement of military forces along the Line of Actual Control and de-escalation in the border areas in accordance with bilateral agreements and protocols. As Prime Minister Narendra Modi noted, this is an era of development, and the era of expansion has come to an end, ” Mr. Varma said in an interview to Russian newspaper Izvestiya  in Moscow.

He said India and China were negotiating through diplomatic and military channels to resolve the situation on the LAC, including talks by Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar and National Security Adviser Ajit Doval with their Chinese counterparts.

Also read: Taking a ‘Far East’ turn to deepen a friendship

“The ban on some Chinese apps is a measure to ensure digital security,” he added.

BRICS, SCO meetings

Meanwhile, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, who took part in the Russia-India-China trilateral last month, just days after the Galwan clash, is expected to attend Foreign Ministers meetings of BRICS and SCO due to be held next month. Russia, which is hosting this year’s summits, has proposed September 10 for the meetings for both. On Thursday, Commerce and Industries Minister Piyush Goyal attended the 10th BRICS Trade Ministers meet, held by virtual conference, along with his Chinese counterpart.

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said on Friday that the date of BRICS Foreign Ministers’ meeting was being discussed. “China hopes to discuss with other parties prominent challenges facing the world and prepare for the leaders meeting at the upcoming foreign ministers meeting,” said the MFA spokesperson.

When asked about the government’s decision to go ahead with multilateral meetings with China despite the tensions at the LAC, an official said the government had taken a broader position.

“[Our stand is that] we should not vacate multilateral platforms, but use them to moderate the unilateral impulses of China and others,” said the official, adding that as the host this year, Russia had been helpful in keeping bilateral issues out of the the talks.

In the interview, Mr. Varma stressed that India pursued an independent foreign policy and had “never joined any alliance and will not do so in future,” in words similar to Mr. Jaishankar’s interview last week. “We take independent decisions regarding defence procurement, and I see no contradiction between further development of India's defence relations with Russia and those with the United States.”

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