India and China do not need outside help in resolving long-standing issues between the two countries, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Tuesday at a virtual meeting of RIC (Russia-India-China) foreign ministers.
Mr Lavrov’s remark comes amid tension between India and China over clashes in eastern Ladakh’s Galwan region last week that left 20 Indian soldiers dead and 76 injured. An unspecified number of Chinese troops were also killed, including a senior commander, in a brutal fight that lasted for several hours.
“I don’t think India and China need any help from outside. I don’t think they need to be helped, especially when it comes to country issues. They can solve them on their own,” Sergei Lavrov said, adding, “this means recent events”.
“New Delhi and Beijing have shown commitment to a peaceful resolution. They started meetings at the level of defence officers and foreign ministers and neither has made any statement to indicate either will pursue non-diplomatic solutions,” he was quoted by news agency ANI.
According to news agency PTI, India was initially reluctant to join today’s trilateral meeting but agreed following a request from host nation Russia.
At the meeting India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar called on all countries to respect international law and help build a durable world order. Without naming China, or any other country, Mr Jaishankar urged “leading voices of the world” to be exemplars in every way.
The violent clash in Ladakh has seen relations between India and China take a significantly worrying turn for the worse over the past few days.
In addition to the fallout of that incident, satellite images accessed by NDTV show that the Chinese have strengthened military positions along the LAC (Line of Actual Control) that serves as the de factor international border.
India has blamed the clashes on “an attempt by the Chinese side to unilaterally change the status quo”, while China said Indian soldiers crossed the border.
Both sides have, however, engaged in top-level military talks to defuse the situation. A nearly 12-hour meeting of Lieutenant Generals on Monday led to a “mutual consensus to disengage”, army sources said Tuesday.
A similar consensus was reached after a meeting on June 6, when India and China agreed to pull back troops after tension followed skirmishes between two sides in Ladakh’s Pangong Lake region on May 5 and 6.
However, nine days after that agreement to disengage the Galwan Valley clash claimed the lives of 20 Indian soldiers in the worst fight between the two countries since four Indian soldiers were killed in Arunachal Pradesh in 1975.
Meanwhile, in a position that appears opposite to Russia’s, the United States has stepped into the breach between India and China, with President Donald Trump last week saying, “We’re talking to India. We’re talking to China. They’ve got a big problem there. They’ve come to blows”.
With input from ANI, PTI