Jaishankar may travel to Russia next month

KT NEWS SERVICE. Dated: 8/8/2020 12:29:10 AM

NEW DELHI, Aug 7: External affairs minister S Jaishankar is likely to travel to Russia next month to take part in foreign ministers’ meetings of two international groupings where his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, too, is expected, people privy to the development.
Jaishankar and Wang will get an opportunity to keep the channel of communication open amid the worst border standoff in years at foreign ministers’ meets of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) that Russia will host at the same venue around the same dates.
The meeting of SCO foreign ministers is being planned on September 9-10 and BRICS foreign ministers are also expected to meet around the same dates, sources said. These meets will prepare for the summits of the two groupings, expected to be held back to back in St Petersburg in October. While both Jaishankar and Wang are expected to be part of the two foreign ministers’ meetings, there is no word yet on a bilateral meeting between them on the sidelines.
The two ministers have engaged virtually after the Chinese army killed 20 Indian soldiers in a faceoff in the Galwan Valley on June 15. Both were also part of BRICS and SCO virtual meets on handling Covid-19 as well as Russia-India-China (RIC) meet. While India and China have agreed to disengage from disputed areas along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) the process has been progressing at a slow pace due to Chinese army’s intransigence, sources said.
SCO and BRICS summits will provide an opportunity for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping to be at the same venue. There is no word yet on a standalone bilateral meet between the two. They last met when Xi travelled to Mamallapuram in October 2019 for the second informal summit.
National security advisors (NSAs) of BRICS could also meet before the summit, giving yet another opportunity for India and China to work on easing the border tension. These meets will be followed by SCO heads of governments meet which Delhi is scheduled to host in late November and this may see the Chinese premier travelling to India,
Russia, which currently holds the presidency of BRICS, SCO and RIC, wants to host physical meetings of these groupings that enable effective outcomes and reaffirm its global outreach, sources said
Physical meetings, by maintaining all necessary protocols in current circumstances, are imperative to build chemistry between leaders and allow free and frank dialogue, explained a source familiar with international summits.
India, which will hold the BRICS presidency in 2021, strongly backs the current Russian presidency and its agenda for BRICS, including counter-terror measures, global economic revival and business initiatives, experts said.



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