Terror, Afghanistan in focus as EAM Sushma Swaraj heads to China for RIC meet

Written By: Sidhant Sibal WION
New Delhi, Delhi, India Updated: Feb 25, 2019, 11:23 PM(IST)

File photo of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. Photograph:( PTI )

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EAM Sushma Swaraj will also hold bilateral meets with her Russian and Chinese counterparts.

India's External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will be leaving for China for the 16th Russia, India, China (RIC) meet on Tuesday. The meet will take place on Wednesday in Wuzhen, Zhejiang. The meet will be chaired by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and will be attended by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Sushma Swaraj.

Announcing the visit, India's Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in a press release said, "The ministers are expected to exchange views on the global situation, regional developments of common concern, address global challenges such as terrorism and discuss trilateral exchanges and activities. "

Speaking on the RIC meet, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang said, "During this meeting, 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. "

The Russian foreign ministry said the focus will be on Afghanistan, Syria and the situation in Korea. Russia's Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova said, "The foreign ministers plan to exchange views on the most pressing international and regional matters, in particular, resolving the situation in Afghanistan, the Middle East, Syria, Libya and Yemen, the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula, and to discuss fighting terrorism, extremism and drug trafficking, as well as ensuring international information security."

EAM Sushma Swaraj will also hold bilateral meets with her Russian and Chinese counterparts.

The meeting comes in the backdrop of the Pulwama terror attack whose responsibility was claimed by Pakistan based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed(JEM). India has been trying to declare the chief of JEM Masood Azhar as an international terrorist under the 1267 committee of the United Nation Security Council but has been blocked many times by China.

China has been non-committal about its listing of Azhar. Last week in its daily briefing Geng Shuang said, China will engage in relevant discussions in a "constructive and responsible manner" and "keep close communication and coordination with India and other parties concerned."

The last RIC foreign ministerial meeting took place in New Delhi on 11 December 2017. That meet came in the backdrop of Doklam crisis when Chinese forces tried to build a road on Bhutanese territory and the attempt was thwarted by Indian forces but led to a  two-month-long standoff, the worst in many decades.

RIC meet at the leaders level — Prime Minister Modi, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping took place on 30 November last year on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Argentina. The meet took place after a gap of 12 years.

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