Russia begins discreet moves to defuse India-China tension

Moscow has ‘high stakes’ in the early resolution of the border issue

Russia has launched an energetic behind-the-scenes effort to defuse military tensions between India and China, ahead of hosting a trilateral RIC video conference, which includes External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, and Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, on Tuesday.

Russia’s diplomatic activism began on June 17, when Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov discussed regional security, “including developments on the Line of Actual Control on the border between India and China in the Himalayas,” with Indian ambassador to Russia, D. Bala Venkatesh Varma.

The meeting took place in the backdrop of the clash in the Galwan Valley, in which 20 Indian and an undeclared number of Chinese troops were killed.

The Russian foreign ministry did not give any further details about the conversation, but Russian diplomatic sources told The Hindu that Moscow has “high stakes” at a global level, in the early resolution of tensions between the two Himalayan neighbours.

“Good relations between India and China are central to the rise of Eurasia and the emergence of a multipolar world order, which is not dominated by a single pole,” the diplomat said. He pointed to the “centrality” of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), which includes India, Pakistan, Russia and China as well as most of the Central Asian Republics as the anchor of a “post-west” global system.

“The persistence of tensions between India and China will not only have a huge negative impact on the SCO but also on the rise of the emerging economies under the Brazil Russia India China South Africa (BRICS) grouping,” the source said.

But the diplomat pointed out that Russia would only like to play a constructive behind-the-scenes role, as both India and China were fully capable of resolving their differences. On Wednesday, Dmitry Peskov, press secretary of Russian President Vladimir Putin said reports from the China-India border were “very alarming”. “But we consider that the two countries are capable of taking necessary steps to prevent such situations in the future..,” Mr. Peskov said.

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