- Recently, the special foreign minister level meeting of the trilateral group of Russia-India-China was held through video conference due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The meeting took place in the backdrop of ongoing border tensions between India and China.
- Since the special meeting was held to mark 75 years of the victory over the Axis powers, the foreign minister began the meeting by reminding both Russia and China that 2.3 million Indian troops helped the Allies win the Second World War.
Background of the RIC grouping :
- The RIC grouping was started in the 1990’s, a period after the cold war when the geo-strategic ties were still evolving.
- At that point of time, India did not have dynamism or depth of relationship but Russia and India’s ties were strong while China was trying to play in its own field.
- There was commonality of interest for carving out multipolar world order and ensuring that the important countries like Russia, India and China get their own global space.
- Hence, RIC was started to give a level playing field to all the 3 countries and out which 2 countries were the emerging economies.
Why is Russia pushing forward for RIC meeting:
- After a certain point of time, Russia’s diplomacy policy has been altered and it has been forced for tactical alliance with China in order to carve out a niche for itself.
- Even, Russia is trying to play a role in the affairs of both the countries which makes both the countries bound to join the alliance.
- Thus, if India and China are not on the same page, Russia would get into a bigger trouble because it holds the presidency for not only the RIC but also for the BRICS and SCO and these groupings are significant as it can provide the counter-balance to the global order.
- India wanted to delay the meeting because of ongoing clashes between India and China but due to Russian compulsions India agreed for the trilateral meeting.
What is the positive outcome of this meeting and how it may be fruitful for the RIC and what does it mean for multilateralism as a whole ?
- The most fruitful outcome of this meeting was that it did not create any ambiguity for India towards Russia which may help in maintaining their relations further.
- Russia also feels pressured by the USA and western Europe and it doesn’t want India and China relations to detroit because if the situation goes bad in the upcoming days, Russia doesn’t want India to become the ally of the USA.
- Even Russia made it clear that India and China should solve the problem by its own mechanisms without involving the outside country because it’s an internal problem between India and China.
- The other positive outcome is that through the RIC the Russia and India got their own space to hold negotiations.
- Thus, Russia did not come out against India and it has tried to collaborate with both the countries because in future there is a possibility that Russia, India and China may join hands to maintain peace in Eurasia.
What kind of role can be played by these 3 countries in the global new world order ?
- As China is a member of RIC grouping, it is more determinant to carve out China-centric world order.
- As of now, China has come out of all the agreements, undertakings etc. which were made to maintain bilateral peace in the last 35 years.
- Even China has gone against India’s interest and it has not spared any stone to contain India.
- Thus, RIC can be a relevant platform for building new world order but all the 3 countries should come together because it is the period of re-calibrating the ties.
Can the bilateral ties or the differences between India and China jeopardise the goals of RIC ?
- It can jeopardise the goals of RIC because Russia’s economy is running at 1.8 trillion dollars which is less than India as well as China but though Russia is considered as super power, its compulsions have knitted India and China together.
- Even, Russia is trying to rectify its far tilting towards China but Russia also has its own reasons to make India and China run together because RIC is a core for BRICS and SC0.
- Though equations have changed, Unbelievably, RIC has relevance as it can be used as a weapon for building up BRICS and SCO in the upcoming future.
As Russia and the USA have a very different view about the ongoing issue between India and China, can this difference of opinion play a wild role in increasing the tensions ?
- Under this situation, the USA tries to get involved in the bilateral issue but as far as Russia is concerned it treats the issue as completely bilateral.
- In the long run, the USA and Russia will be on the same boat because Russia’s trade along with China is just 15% whereas 40% of its trade is with western Europe who is a closer ally of the USA .
- Through the RIC platform, Russia is trying to balance the relation between India and China so that in the near future Russia doesn’t have to take sides.
- Thus, Russia needs Eurasia at peace so that it can focus on its western frontier because Russia’s and America’s reaction will be very different.
Why are bilateral issues kept out of the multilateral meetings especially the RIC ?
- As the RIC includes 3 large countries, bilateral issues may hijack the core agenda of the meeting which is coordination on various issues like global economic prospects, political security etc.
- Generally, bilateral issues tend to come up on the sidelines and formal discussions because core issues can’t be separated from the global issues.
- A country’s global issues are shaped based on its bilateral issues.
- Thus, the core agenda of the meeting should not be impacted.
Though Russia has stated that it is a bilateral issue between India and China, will Russia play a role behind the scenes to sort the tensions ?
- India-China border issue is disputed for a long time but it is kept out of RIC as long as it is possible because it may also hamper the relations further.
- As all multilateral institutions take decades to get shaped but then they are bilateral in nature likewise bilateral issues determine the nature of the multilateral issues.
- Thus, Russia has to balance off the relations in order to keep the bilateral issues out of the RIC.
The areas of common interest need to be identified between both countries for resolving the conflict because points of difference between both the countries may hamper the operations of various groupings.
India has to decide on ways of dealing with China without hampering the working relationship.
China should put into practice the international norms without crossing its limits.
India needs to go for a quiet diplomacy which may mutually benefit both the countries at large.
In order to be the most emerging economies in the world order, both the countries should go for recalibrating their ties.