India, Russia, China to cement trilateral cooperation

New Delhi, April 12: Building upon the success of the BRICS summit, the foreign ministers of India, China and Russia will hold a trilateral meeting Friday to cement new pathways of cooperation and attempt to harmonise their positions on key international issues.

External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna has reached Moscow for the 11th trilateral meeting of the foreign ministers of the three countries.

Krishna will hold bilateral talks with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov to kick off the celebrations to mark the 65th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between India and Russia.

Ahead of the meeting, New Delhi has said that the trilateral meet will review the progress of the existing mechanisms and explore newer avenues of cooperation under the trilateral framework.

The framework was meant to forge cooperation and to build trust among the three emerging economies, but its importance has waned slightly after the BRIC grouping of the four emerging economies, including Brazil, Russia, India and China held its first summit in 2009. Pretoria joined the grouping in 2011, changing the nomenclature of the grouping to BRICS.

In a significant advance, India, Russia and China, along with Brazil and South Africa, came out with common positions at the March 29 BRICS summit in New Delhi on the Iranian nuclear standoff and the Syrian crisis.

Russia and China, which had earlier opposed the Arab League-backed US resolution on Syria on grounds that it amounted to a regime change, joined other BRICS countries, to advocate Syria-backed transition in that country. On Iran, they collectively pushed for dialogue and warned the West against escalating the conflict.

The trilateral meeting will build on the shared understanding at the BRICS summit and review their position in the light of latest developments in these two flashpoint countries, said informed sources.

Besides international and strategic issues, the trilateral meeting will seek to consolidate and expand cooperation in areas relating to disaster relief, agriculture and public health, deepening communication among academic, industrial and business communities.

The three foreign ministers are also expected to reiterate their commitment to promoting multi-polarity in international relations and make a renewed call to reform international governance architecture, also a pressing theme of the BRICS grouping.

The last trilateral meetings were held in Wuhan, China in 2010 and Bangalore in 2009.

IANS