Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid (C) and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (R) attend a press conference after their meeting in New Delhi, November 10, 2013. Source: Photoshot
Quoting ‘sources’, a leading national daily from New Delhi has highlighted that the RIC [Russia-India-China] meeting hosted by India over the weekend saw a robust stance on the part of China on the criticality of countering terrorist threats in the region. The report attributed this to China’s acute concerns following the recent terrorist strike at the historic Tiananmen Square in Beijing.
At any rate, the RIC joint statement issued after the talks between the foreign ministers of the three countries in New Delhi on Sunday uses exceptionally strong language in condemning terrorism “in all its forms and manifestations, committed by whomever, wherever, and for whatever purposes.”
Interestingly, the statement made a pointed reference to the terrorist attack in Beijing two weeks ago, condemning it “in the strongest terms” and agreeing that “there cannot be ideological, religious, political, racial, ethnic, or any other justification for acts of terrorism.” It “underlined the need to bring to justice perpetrators, organizers, financiers and sponsors of terrorist acts.”
These are thought processes that are not new in the discourses involving India and Russia, since the “time-tested” friends have near-identical views on the scourge of international terrorism. But this formulation in the RIC statement is striking because it is way beyond anything that India and China have ever agreed as a common stance. Suffice to say, the RIC meeting in Delhi sets a new benchmark for the Sino-Indian exchanges as regards the struggle against terrorism in the region. How this common stance pans out in practical terms in the coming period will be keenly watched, especially as the endgame in Afghanistan advances.
In fact, the RIC statement devoted by far the biggest attention to the Afghan situation. An appreciably high level of commonality appears in the Russian, Indian and Chinese perceptions and thinking with regard to the Afghan situation. All three countries remain deeply concerned about the security situation in Afghanistan and have held the view that “the evolving situation in Afghanistan is closely linked with security of the region.” In sum, they have asserted their prerogative as stakeholders in the security and stability of Afghanistan. The statement stressed the “core coordinating role of the UN in promoting peace and stability in Afghanistan,” which is an indirect disapproval of the monopoly being exercised the by United States and its team of select “core players” over conflict resolution in Afghanistan.
Equally, the RIC statement reiterated that “achieving broad and inclusive reconciliation is the key to enduring peace and stability of Afghanistan.” However, what would have pleased Delhi particularly would be the RIC statement’s call for the “elimination of terrorist bases and safe havens” and for “cutting off all financial and tactical support to terrorism” in Afghanistan. Without doubt, the opaqueness and ambivalences and the consistencies in the Obama administration’s handling of the Afghan transition causes disquiet to Russia, India and China. It must be noted that these three countries have upheld the primacy of the UN at a time when Washington is all set to conclude a status of forces agreement with Kabul on a bilateral basis and insists on regarding it as the security framework for the continued involvement of the US and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in the post-2014 period in Afghanistan.
The Indian daily reported that one concrete outcome of the RIC meeting would be the strengthening of the cooperation amongst the three countries in practical terms through some form of “concrete mechanism.” The three foreign ministers have agreed to take the discussion forward.
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