India is expected to raise with China the issue of designating Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist by the UN when the foreign ministers of Russia, India and China (RIC) hold their 16th meeting on 27 February in the Chinese city of Wuzhen.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will represent India at the crucial meeting, to be chaired by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi. Russia will be represented by its Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, it is learnt.
With France deciding to move a fresh proposal at the UN seeking ban on the JeM chief and both the United States and the United Kingdom agreeing to support the French move, India is likely to ask Beijing not to stand in the way of adoption of the resolution.
Russia, which also is a permanent member of the Security Council, has so far not publicly taken any stand on India’s demand for banning the JeM chief.
China in the past has blocked the move to designate Masood Azhar as a global terrorist by the Security Council at least thrice to save its ‘all-weather’ friend Pakistan from facing global embarrassment. The JeM, which is based in Pakistan and enjoys the patronage of the Pakistani establishment, has claimed responsibility for the Pulwama terror attack on a CRPF convoy last week in which more than 40 jawans were killed.
Swaraj is expected to provide irrefutable evidence of JeM’s involvement in the Pulwama massacre to her counterparts from China and Russia at the RIC meet and seek their support for banning its chief, which would go a long way in crippling the activities of his terror network.
The foreign ministers of the three countries will take the implementation of the important consensus of the leaders as the main thrust, focus on the current international landscape, exchange in-depth views on major regional and international issues of mutual interest and deepen third-party cooperation outcomes.
The last RIC meet at the leaders’ level, which was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping, took place on 30 November last year on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit in Argentina.