Ensure inclusive Afghan Govt. - RIC Nations
- Recently, a meeting between the Foreign Ministers of Russia, India and China on Friday revealed the inherent differences among the three countries on the future of the Indo-Pacific region.
Key highlights of the RIC meeting
- China, Russia reportedly described the Indo-Pacific region as “not a partnership of equals” and supported the notion of the Asia-Pacific as a more “inclusive and harmonious” framework.
- India, along with the U.S., Japan and Australia, has formed the quadrilateral framework to ensure free and open maritime lanes in the Indo-Pacific region.
- However, China’s statement indirectly disapproved of such initiatives. According to the Chinese statement, such groupings are reminiscent of the Cold War.
- The statement referred to the “patchwork of small circles”, while indirectly referring to the Quad initiative and urged all three countries to jointly deal with global challenges.
- It referred to the Sino-Russian-Indian spirit of “openness, solidarity, trust and cooperation”, which can fight epidemics, and provide stability to the world,
- China referred to the “democracy trap” and opposed the upcoming “Summit of Democracies”, adding that the summit will bring out “negative energy”.
- Russia, India and China (RIC) Friday called for ensuring that Afghanistan’s territory is not used to attack any country, the formation of a “truly inclusive” government and immediate aid to the war-ravaged nation.
- External Affairs minister who chaired the meeting, said the three countries need to work together to ensure humanitarian assistance reaches the Afghan people without hindrance or politicisation,
- The RIC countries must coordinate their respective approaches towards terrorism, radicalisation and drug trafficking.
- All three foreign ministers reaffirmed their support for an “Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process”.
- The ministers stressed on the necessity of “urgent elimination” of terror groups such as Al Qaeda and IS for lasting peace in Afghanistan and the region, a joint communique said.
- The communique, issued after the talks, said the ministers called for the formation of an inclusive government that represents all the major ethnic and political groups of the country, and emphasised on the central role of the UN in that country.
- They reaffirmed the importance of ensuring that the territory of Afghanistan should not be used to threaten or attack any other country and that no Afghan group or individual should support terrorists operating on the territory of any other country.
- They called on the Taliban to take actions in accordance with the results of all the recently held international and regional formats of interaction on Afghanistan, including the UN Resolutions on Afghanistan.
- RIC is a strategic grouping that first took shape in the late 1990s under the leadership of Yevgeny Primakov, a Russian politician as “a counterbalance to the Western alliance.”
- The group was founded on the basis of ending its subservient foreign policy guided by the USA and renewing old ties with India and fostering the newly discovered friendship with China.
- Together, the RIC countries occupy over 19% of the global landmass and contribute to over 33% of global GDP.
Relevance of RIC for India
- Strategic Balance: Along with JAI, India would do well to give RIC the same importance. The groupings like the Quad and the JAI essentially revolve around the Indo Pacific and will confine India to being only a maritime power when it is actually both a maritime and continental power.
- Forum for Cooperation: Even though India, China and Russia may disagree on a number of security issues in Eurasia, there are areas where their interests converge, like, for instance, on Afghanistan. RIC can ensure stable peace in Afghanistan and by extension, in Central Asia.
- Regular RIC interactions could also help the three countries identify other issues where they have congruent views like the volatile situation in West Asia.
- Creation of New Order: Contribute to creating a new economic structure for the world. The US apparently wants to break down the current economic and political order. While the existing structure is not satisfactory, the RIC could offer some suggestions which could be acceptable to the US.
- Governance over Arctic: With the Northern Sea Route opening up due to climate change, the RIC has a common interest in ensuring that it is not left to the West and Russia alone and that India and China also have major say in rules governing the Arctic route.
- Other Aspects: They could work together on disaster relief and humanitarian assistance.
- India has traditionally avoided taking sides in international politics, especially between the great powers, preferring its traditional nonalignment. However, * China’s hostile attitude towards India in recent years is increasingly forcing India to confront.
- This makes it difficult to see how engagements through platforms such as RIC, are going to alter the basic conflictual nature of relations between India and China.
- Even though Russia has remained an old friend for India, it is increasingly under stress to follow China’s dictates. E.g. earlier, it openly opposed the Indo-Pacific concept at the Raisina Dialogue.
- On issues such as Jammu and Kashmir, which China raised at the UN Security Council, Russia preferred taking a middle position, not supporting India’s stand entirely.