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MOSCOW PLANNING RUSSIA-INDIA-CHINA SUMMIT ON SIDELINES OF G20 MEET IN RIYADH IN NOVEMBER

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Moscow is now planning to organise a Russia-India-China (RIC) summit on the sidelines of the G20 meeting, scheduled to be held in Riyadh in November, even as tensions refuse to abate between India and China, ThePrint has learnt.

The plan to hold the RIC summit, between Russian President Vladimir Putin, his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was discussed during the virtual video-conference between the RIC foreign ministers on 23 June, diplomatic sources told ThePrint.

The G20 meeting is expected to take place in the Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadh on 21-22 November.

The trilateral format of the RIC and strengthening it with a summit meeting is “important to promote regional cooperation for sustainable development and stability,” said a source, who refused to be identified.

According to the sources, however, neither India nor China has confirmed participation in the summit.

“The RIC summit has not yet been raised by Russia officially… RIC defence ministers meeting is agreeable in principle but no dates have been fixed,” said an official on condition of anonymity.

RIC defence ministers’ meeting

Sources also said when Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had gone to Moscow for the ‘Victory Day’ parade in June, it was planned then that a defence ministries’ track could be launched at the end of the year to understand the security apparatus and enhance defence cooperation between Russia, India and China.

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The main aim behind making the RIC grouping multi-pronged is to streamline a unified agenda while upholding the central role of the UN and international law. This, the sources said, would also help to expand a “common ground” between the participants.

Launching of the defence ministries’ track was also discussed during the RIC ministerial video conference. 

The trilateral defence ministries’ track could be launched this year under the Russian chairmanship in Moscow, the sources said. As of now, the plan is to establish a dialogue mechanism under the RIC between the defence ministers of Russia, India and China.

The RIC foreign ministers’ meeting was held on 23 June, a week after the Galwan Valley clash between Indian and Chinese troops.

While Russia has denied publicly that it is not playing the role of a mediator even as tensions between India and China increases across the Ladakh sector of the LAC, Moscow has been urging both New Delhi and Beijing to mitigate the issue and look forward to an amicable solution on the issue, the sources said.

During the RIC meeting, which was also attended by Chinese Foreign Minister and State Councillor Wang Yi and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar had stated that the “world has changed”, and thus, there is a need for “coming to terms with contemporary reality”.