Russia steps up influence on New Delhi to uphold “multilateralism” against US “rules-based order”

[TamilNet, Friday, 26 June 2020, 21:24 GMT]
Russia convened a 'special' virtual Russia-India-China (RIC) ‘strategic’ triangle meet on Tuesday to influence India, which has embraced 'major strategic partnership' with the US-led Quad. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov reminded India of RIC countries’ “stabilising role in global affairs” through establishing what he called as establishing “true multilateralism”. In his remarks, Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar was talking about “reformed multilateralism,” but in the context of India seeking permanent membership of the UN Security Council through rectifying the “uncorrected” 75 years of “historical injustice”. There was no direct mention of the violent standoff between China and India along the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh's Galwan valley. But, Lavrov commented that it was up to India and China to resolve the issue in a bilateral dialogue.

The Russian Foreign Minister was discouraging third-party involvement, including that of his country in an effort to delegitimise intervention by others, especially the US.

"I don't think that India & China need any help from the outside. I don't think they need to be helped, especially when it comes to country issues. They can solve them on their own, it means the recent events," Asian News International (ANI) tweeted quoting Mr Lavrov as commenting on 23 June.

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Russian FM Sergey Lavrov’s opening remarks during a videoconference of the foreign ministers of Russia, India and China:

Friends,

Good afternoon once again. First of all, I would like to welcome you and thank you for taking part in today’s meeting. We are holding it as a videoconference. I am glad to see everyone in good health and mood. This is always important.

We are holding these talks on the eve of the Victory Parade in Moscow, which will take place on June 24 this year. On this day 75 years ago, the Victory Parade was held after the triumph in World War II and the Great Patriotic War. Back then, those who delivered a deadly blow to Hitler’s war machine marched on Red Square. I would like to use this opportunity to sincerely thank our friends from India and China for sending their military units to take part in the parade. This shows the common history our nations share.

Today we are facing other threats, above all COVID-19. The pandemic continues to take people’s lives and seriously impact global politics and economy. We can see this clearly. The pandemic has demonstrated that the entire international community is interconnected to an unprecedented degree, regardless of geographic situation and the level of prosperity. It has reaffirmed that in today’s world it is impossible to stay on the sidelines, away from cross-border problems.

Of course, at the same time, many other dangerous challenges and threats the entire humankind has to face remain unsolved. One such threat is international terrorism. Efforts to combat it continue with a degree of success, but it is clear that this threat is far from being eliminated. I would like to use this opportunity to reaffirm our support to the Indian initiative on adopting a comprehensive convention on combatting terrorism. Other cross-border threats that make terrorism stronger, such as drug trafficking and other forms of cross-border crime, also remain unresolved. And, of course, everyone understands that it is necessary to stop the degradation of the environment and address the problem of climate change.

In these conditions, the global community must unite, but, unfortunately, despite all the objective factors, attempts continue to promote selfish interests, settle the score with geopolitical rivals and topple undesirable regimes, including by using illegitimate unilateral coercive measures. The striving of several Western states to move away from a system that is based on the universal acceptance of international law and attempts to replace international law with some “rule-based order”, where these rules are defined by the immediate situation, raise serious concerns. This line makes the global stage more unpredictable and increases mistrust. We cannot but feel concerned about it.

Russia, India and China consistently speak in favour of interstate relations based on a firm and, let me stress this, generally recognised international legal basis in order to ensure global stability and general prosperity. Our leaders reaffirmed this stance at the RIC summits in Buenos Aires in November 2018 and Osaka in June 2019. We are united by our rejection of unilateral methods in international relations, especially when these methods are applied by force.

I am confident that the use of our three countries’ potential will play an important stabilising role in global affairs, support the entire global community in effectively resolving many topical problems of today and establish the principles of true multilateralism.

Thank you for your attention. I would like to give the floor to my colleague from India.

* * *


Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar’s Opening Remarks at the RIC Trilateral Foreign Ministers’ Video Conference:

Your Excellency Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov,
Your Excellency Foreign Minister Wang Yi,

Friends,

  1. A very good afternoon to you all. We welcome this special RIC meeting of Foreign Ministers to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the conclusion of the Second World War, as well as the foundation of the United Nations.
  2. The victory over Nazism and Fascism was achieved through sacrifices across many theatres by many countries. India made a significant contribution, with 2.3 million of its citizens under arms and 14 million more participating in war production. Indian blood was shed at the battlefields of the world, from Tobruk, El Alamein and Montecassino, to Singapore, Kohima and Borneo. We helped keep key supply lines open to 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. So tomorrow, when our military contingent marches through the Red Square, it would be an affirmation of the difference that we made.
  3. When the victors met to fashion the ensuing global order, the political circumstances of that era did not give India due recognition. This historical injustice has stood uncorrected for the last 75 years, even as the world has changed. Therefore, on this momentous occasion, it is important for the world to realize both the contribution that India made and the need to rectify the past.
  4. But beyond history, international affairs must also come to terms with contemporary reality. The United Nations began with 50 members; today it has 193. Surely, its decision making cannot continue to be in denial of this fact. We, the RIC countries, have been active participants in shaping the global agenda. It is India’s hope that we will also now converge on the value of reformed multilateralism.
  5. This Special Meeting reiterates our belief in the time-tested principles of international relations.But the challenge today is not just one of concepts and norms, but equally of their practice.The leading voices of the world must be exemplars in every way. Respecting international law, recognizing the legitimate interests of partners, supporting multilateralism and promoting common good are the only way of building a durable world order.
  6. I thank Russia for convening this meeting and look forward to our discussions.
New Delhi
June 23, 2020


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Remarks by Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi At the Video Conference of RIC Foreign Ministers

I would like to start by thanking Minister Lavrov for convening this video conference of RIC Foreign Ministers, which is highly necessary under the current situation. I also wish Russia a most successful Victory Parade in Moscow tomorrow.

COVID-19 has posed unprecedented threat to the life and health of people around the world, plunged the global economy into unprecedented recession, and presented unprecedented challenges to international stability.

As major countries with global influence as well as major emerging economies, China, Russia and India are all advocates of the international system centered around the United Nations and the international order underpinned by international law. We are all committed to upholding multilateralism, advancing international cooperation against COVID-19 and bolstering global economic recovery. In these areas, we have broad converging interests and shared responsibilities.

President Xi Jinping, President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Narendra Modi attach great importance to the RIC framework, and their two successful informal meetings have provided important political guidance for our cooperation. Today, I look forward to working with my colleagues to act on the consensus reached between our leaders and carry forward the RIC spirit of openness, solidarity, trust and cooperation. I hope that through this meeting, we can build greater consensus, map out future cooperation, and send a positive message of our shared commitment to combating COVID-19, boosting economic growth, and upholding international fairness and justice.

Colleagues,

The world today is experiencing a sea change as a result of COVID-19. On the one hand, unilateralism, protectionism and bullying practices have been on the increase. Some countries and political forces have been busy with scapegoating, decoupling and exiting from international groupings and treaties. They also attempt to disrupt international cooperation against COVID-19 and stoke confrontation between different ideologies and social systems. Such actions are pushing the world in a dangerous direction.

On the other hand, peace and development remain the theme of the times. The trend of emerging economies' rise will not change, the trend toward a multi-polar world will not change, and the trend of continued globalization amid twists and turns will not change.

Shaping a post-COVID-19 world defined by peace and stability, openness and diversity and win-win cooperation serves the shared interests of all countries and responds to the call of the times. To achieve this goal is a challenging task for RIC countries and requires enhanced cooperation in the following areas:

First, we need to promote multilateralism and update global governance.

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the victory of World War II and the founding of the United Nations. In that bloodiest conflict in human history, people of our three countries made indelible contributions in different theaters to the final victory, saving mankind from demise. With history in mind, we must all firmly uphold the victory of World War II, firmly oppose acts of historical retrogression, firmly reject hegemony and power politics, and firmly advocate greater democracy and rule of law in international relations. On this front, our three countries should:

l Advocate multilateralism and uphold the purposes and principles of the UN Charter to safeguard the authority and effectiveness of the United Nations. With India again elected as non-permanent member of the Security Council, our three countries should enhance communication and coordination and pursue practical and effective cooperation under the UN framework, in order to ensure that the UN plays its due role in safeguarding world peace, promoting common development, and particularly, in addressing global challenges.

l Keep up communication on macroeconomic policies to contribute to the stability of global economy. Efforts are needed to build an open world economy that will benefit emerging markets and developing countries, and to safeguard the WTO-centered multilateral trading regime and ensure secure and smooth functioning of global industrial and supply chains. Development should remain the centerpiece of the global macro policy agenda, and the delivery of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development should be accelerated.

l Elevate SCO cooperation in various fields to provide greater SCO strength and stronger SCO voice to addressing new threats and challenges and the building of a new type of international relations. We should take the lead in advancing BRICS cooperation and upholding BRICS solidarity, and work to consolidate its three main drivers, namely, economic cooperation, political and security cooperation, and people-to-people exchanges. China will continue to support Russia's presidency of the SCO and BRICS, and work with Russia for the success of various events.

Second, we need to step up cooperation and pull together to defeat COVID-19.

With the personal commitment and leadership of President Xi Jinping, the Chinese people have made united and tremendous efforts and successfully brought the spread of the virus under control.

At the height of the COVID-19 situation in China, Russia and India provided us with invaluable support. President Putin and Prime Minister Modi wrote to President Xi to express their sympathies. The two countries also sent us much-needed medical supplies. In the same spirit, as COVID-19 rampages around the world, China has delivered medical assistance to Russia and India to the best of its ability and facilitated the two countries' purchases of urgently needed supplies.

As Russia and India are working around the clock to suppress the transmission, China is also faced with the pressure of resurgence. We need to draw on each other's useful experience, share information, and conduct cooperation in the research and development of therapeutics and vaccines. The effective measures for protecting the safety and health of nationals from the other two countries need to be kept in place in each country. We three countries may explore the possibility of setting up joint response mechanisms and "fast-track lanes" and "green lanes" to facilitate flows of people and goods, so as to contribute to an early return of normalcy in life and work.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is central to coordinating the global COVID-19 response. Only by supporting WHO can the world win the battle against the virus and save more lives. China is ready to work with Russia and India to advance international cooperation against the disease, firmly reject stigmatization, and resolutely oppose any attempt to pursue selfish political gains under the pretext of COVID-19 response. To address the weak links and deficiencies exposed in the crisis, we three countries need to jointly improve global public health governance and work for a global community of health for all.

Third, we need to improve our cooperation mechanisms to form greater synergy.

With the concerted efforts, cooperation among our three countries is growing with a sound momentum. To inject fresh impetus to our cooperation, China is ready to host the next informal leaders' meeting. We trust that this proposal will get positive response and support from Russia and India.

A meeting of the defense ministers will be conducive to maintaining regional and global peace and stability, and to upgrading the defense security cooperation of our three countries. China supports Russia in hosting the first RIC defense ministers meeting.

Terrorism remains a major non-traditional security threat to the three countries and the wider region. China will deepen counter-terrorism and security cooperation with Russia and India, build more consensus and develop greater synergy. We must reject all forms of terrorism and extremism, and safeguard security and stability in this part of the world and beyond.

RIC cooperation has tremendous potential and broad space for growth. We need to expand our cooperation to more areas as befits our times. China proposes setting up ministerial dialogue mechanisms in such fields as economy and trade, energy, transportation, education, culture and health. We may also discuss the establishment of an eminent persons group, which brings together former political leaders and renowned scholars for drafting a cooperation vision report, and making recommendations for stronger cooperation among our three countries.

Colleagues,

China, Russia and India are major countries with global importance and strategic independence. As such, we need to view one another as partners and opportunities for each other, and maintain cooperation. It serves our common interests to facilitate the development and revitalization of each of us and peace and progress of the world. With this in mind, we need to put the sensitive issues in bilateral relations in perspective and manage them properly. We need to uphold the larger interests in our mutual relations and contribute even more to peace and development in this region and the wider world. China stands ready to work with Russia and India, and make unremitting efforts to this end.


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