How Russia plays mediator between India-China without intervention


On Monday, media reported the inception of withdrawal process of Chinese troops from the Galwan Valley and even the Pangong Tso in Ladakh, marking the deescalation of conflict between the two.

According for the reports a three-kilometre of no military zone has been created between Indian and Chinese troops, after successful completion of talks between India national security adviser Ajit Doval and Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi on Sunday, during which it was reported that the former pushed for a “full and enduring restoration of peace and tranquility.” Subsequently both the forces moved back their tents, troops and vehicles from the Line of Actual Control (LAC). The troop withdrawal process was supervised and verified by drones, but the physical verification was still pending.

India and China owe it to Russia for cooling off the tensions between the Asian neighbours. Since the beginning of the recent clash between New Delhi and Beijing at Galwan Valley, Moscow had been very clear about offering cooperation to support a peaceful resolution, while refusing any sort of intervention.

At the time when the dispute got most intense, with 20 of Indian soldiers being killed and 10 captured by Chinese forces, which was ahead of Russia-India-China (RIC) foreign ministers meet, Moscow quietly used its strategic, diplomatic and economic power to bring the two to the table. After the June 15 border clash, the Russian Foreign Ministry issued a brief statement saying, “The officials discussed regional security, including developments on the Line of Actual Control on the border between India and China in the Himalayas.”

The Economic Times reported an internal source’s statement which said, “All three sides had stakes in reducing tensions. Based on Russia’s relations with India and China, it tried to create a situation that does not derail the RIC meet. But the idea was not to intervene in a bilateral dispute, rather it was to use quiet diplomacy.”

Though Russia publicly claimed that India and China were fully capable of finding a peaceful solution to the dispute without any mediation from a third party. On June 15, Russia issued a statement saying that it was observing the situation closely, and urged the conflicting parties to restore predictability and stability in the region.

Ahead of the RIC meet, which was scheduled for June 23, a senior Russian official said, “I think any intervention in such a delicate matter as border dispute is not just inexpedient, but can also seriously hurt the efforts Beijing and New Delhi are independently making to find a way out of this situation.”

But it was Russia which acted as a subtle mediator given its mutually-exclusive defence and energy ties with both China and India. Besides organising a trilateral meet between Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Moscow also hosted host Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and his Chinese counterpart, Wei Fenghe, to attend theVictory Day parade on June 24, to break the ice between the disputing parties. Following the RIC meet, Russia also organised BRICS’ Sherpa-level meet to initiate dialogue and cooperation among the member nations.

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