India is likely to raise the issue of terrorism in a big way at the Russia-India-China (RIC) Foreign Ministers’ meeting to be held in New Delhi on 11 December against the backdrop of China’s continued stonewalling of the attempts by the international community to get JeM chief Masood Azhar declared as a global terrorist by the United Nations.
The External Affairs Ministry on Thursday confirmed that External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi would hold the trilateral meeting. ‘’We are still working out the programme for the meeting,’’ MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.
The RIC meeting was to be held in April but China expressed its inability to attend it at that time, apparently to convey to India its displeasure over Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh. Beijing lays claim over the entire Indian North-eastern state.
The RIC meeting will take place at a time when relations between India and China have hit a low due to a plethora of issues, particularly the military stand-off at Doklam.
India has also been upset with China for the ‘double standard’ it has adopted in fighting terrorism. On the one hand, China was declaring its firm commitment to tackle terrorism while on the other it was blocking listing of the JEM chief as a global terrorist, only to save its close ally Pakistan from facing embarrassment across the globe, a source said.
There are indications that China would once again appeal to India to join its ambitious Belt, Road Initiative (BRI). However, New Delhi is unlikely to change its stand, given the fact that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the flagship project of the BRI initiative, runs through the Indian territory illegally occupied by Pakistan in Kashmir.
The RIC meeting is to be followed by talks between Special Representatives (SRs) of the two countries on the boundary dispute towards the end of December. National Security Advisor Ajit Doval is the SR on the Indian side while State Councillor Yang Jiechi is the SR on the Chinese side.