India and China need no help, says Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov

International law should be respected: Jaishankar

June 23, 2020 04:17 pm | Updated December 04, 2021 10:33 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi at the Russia-India-China Foreign Minister-level virtual interaction on June 23, 2020. Photo: Twitter/@RusEmbIndia

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi at the Russia-India-China Foreign Minister-level virtual interaction on June 23, 2020. Photo: Twitter/@RusEmbIndia

Russia has appreciated India and China for not resorting to “non-diplomatic” language during the tension at the Line of Actual Control near Ladakh.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at the Russia-India-China Foreign Minister-level virtual interaction on Tuesday that both countries were capable of solving the crisis without escalation. The discussions among Mr. Lavrov and his Indian and Chinese counterparts backed an upgrade of the group to include inter-ministerial meetings covering defence, health, culture and technology.

“New Delhi and Beijing have shown commitment to peaceful resolution after they initiated contacts between military officers and Foreign Ministers. Neither side has made any statement regarding finding non-diplomatic solution... I don’t see any reason for Russia or anyone else to impose its services to help India and China,” he said.

Russian appreciation for the ongoing multi-level dialogue between India and China is a significant boost to diplomatic efforts to find a peaceful resolution to the crisis. 

“Russia, India and China consistently speak in favour of inter-state relations based on a firm and, let me stress this, generally recognised international legal basis in order to ensure global stability and general prosperity,” Mr. Lavrov said in his opening remarks. He also underscored the Asia-Pacific model of cooperation seeking better coordination among vital Ministries. 

Diplomatic sources said the process of upgrading the trilateral group, especially at the level of Defence Ministers, was likely to take place soon. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh is in Moscow to attend the 75th World War-II Victory Parade. Other dignitaries, including Chinese representatives, are expected to attend the event in Moscow.

Speaking at the RIC interaction, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar said upholding the fundamental principles of international relations was necessary for maintaining order in the world. He also pointed out India’s contribution to Russia and China during World War-II. 

”Leading voices of the world must be exemplars in every way. Respecting international law, recognising legitimate interests of partners, supporting multilateralism and promoting common good is the only way to build a durable world order. This special meeting reiterates our belief in time-tested principles of international relations, but the challenge today is not of concepts and norms but equally of their practice,” Dr. Jaishankar said. 

However, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi subtly hinted at bilateral issues in his comments. He called for revitalisation of the three countries, while “correctly treating and properly handling sensitive factors in bilateral relations”. 

Recalling history

Mr. Jaishankar’s speech dwelt upon the post-WWII order, which came into existence after the defeat of Nazi Germany. He said the world order that came to replace the previous one of the late 1940s was inherently flawed and denied India its due recognition. “We helped keep key supply lines open for both your countries, one through the Persian corridor and the other over the Himalayan Hump. If Indian personnel were conferred the Order of the Red Star, the medical mission led by Dr. Kotnis was a legend in China,” Dr. Jaishankar said, elaborating on the Indian role during the war.

Also read: Ladakh face-off | Russia begins discreet moves to defuse India-China tension

He focused on the normative aspect of international relations in the speech, which is being interpreted as India's subtle reminder to China in view of the situation in Ladakh. Both sides are currently in talks to de-escalate the situation that flared into a clash in the Galwan Valley on June 15 and left at least 20 Indian soldiers dead.

Tuesday’s virtual interaction came six days after both the Indian and Chinese Foreign Ministers spoke over phone to reduce tensions at the LAC. India has accused China of attempting to acquire additional territories, disregarding India’s sovereignty. During the telephone conversation held on June 17, Mr. Jaishankar had conveyed India’s protest in the “strongest terms” on the fight at Galwan Valley.

India has in the past often referred to international law while defending territorial rights. It has reminded China repeatedly that construction activities in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK), Gilgit Baltistan and Aksai Chin infringe upon India's national sovereignty as these areas are considered to be parts of India under forced occupation.

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