China, Russia foreign ministers among group meeting in India

Foreign ministers from a group of nations led by China and Russia met Friday in the Indian coastal resort state of Goa, where they were expected to discuss regional security, combating terrorism, and deepening economic and cultural ties.

India’s Foreign Minister Subhramanyam Jaishankar in opening remarks to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization — a group that includes China, Russia and several other Asian countries — criticized global institutions’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic and their ability to resolve geopolitical upheaval, saying that alternative forums like the SCO have an opportunity to help address such challenges.

He said the developments have disrupted global supply chains, especially in energy, food and fertilizer, and hit developing nations the hardest.

“These crises have also exposed a credibility and trust deficit in the ability of global institutions to manage challenges in a timely and efficient manner,” he said. “With more than 40 percent of the world’s population within the SCO, our collective decisions will surely have a global impact.”

Jaishankar did not mention Russia’s war in Ukraine in his remarks, and analysts say Moscow is unlikely to face backlash over its invasion among the grouping and will instead use the meeting to flex its influence in the region.

The SCO was founded in 2001 by China and Russia, and included the Central Asian nations of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. It was expanded in 2017 to include India and Pakistan. Iran is expected to join the organization later this year.

Jaishankar on Friday also stressed the need to fight terrorism, noting the group is particularly concerned about the security situation in Afghanistan, where the Taliban swept to power after America’s chaotic departure last year.

He said cross-border terrorism must be stopped, a veiled dig at archrival Pakistan, which sent its foreign minister to Goa in the first visit to India by a high-ranking official in nearly a decade.

India accuses Pakistan of arming and training insurgent groups fighting for the independence of Indian-controlled Kashmir or its integration into Pakistan, a charge Islamabad denies.

“Let’s not get caught up in weaponizing terrorism for diplomatic point scoring,” Pakistan’s foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said in his opening remarks.

A flurry of bilateral talks were held Thursday ahead of the meeting, as Jaishankar met with his Chinese counterpart Qin Gang and Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov.

The meeting between the Indian and Chinese foreign ministers came amid a tense situation along their disputed border, where a three-year standoff has involved thousands of soldiers stationed in the eastern Ladakh region.

Qin said the border situation was “stable overall” and that both sides should abide by existing agreements to “promote the further cooling and easing of the border situation and maintain sustainable peace and tranquility in the border area,” according to a statement from China’s Foreign Ministry.

India did not release a statement after the meeting, but Jaishankar tweeted afterward to say the focus remained on resolving outstanding issues and ensuring peace along the border.

Qin also met with Lavrov on Thursday. China is the biggest buyer of Russian oil and gas exports, pumping billions of dollars into Russian President Vladimir Putin’s treasury and helping the Kremlin resist Western sanctions over its invasion of Ukraine.

Beijing is also trying to assert itself as a global diplomatic force and has said it would like to serve as a mediator in the war.

Qin said China would continue to promote peace talks on Ukraine and maintain communication with Russia to make “tangible contributions to a political settlement of the crisis,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry statement said.

Last month, Chinese leader Xi Jinping said Beijing would send an envoy to Ukraine to discuss a possible political settlement.

China has blamed the US and NATO for provoking Russia and refused to criticize Moscow’s actions. However, it has refrained from issuing a full-throated endorsement of the invasion and is not known to have provided arms or other material assistance to the Russian military effort.

Check Also

Iraqi PM addresses negligence and promises care for Al-Hamdaniyah incident victims

The Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammad Shia Al-Sudani has made a statement regarding the tragic Al-Hamdaniyah …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *