India, China, Russia pitch for Afghan stability; back dialogue on Syria (Lead)

April 13th, 2012 - 8:36 pm ICT by IANS  

Moscow, April 13 (IANS) Building upon an understanding at the BRICS summit in New Delhi nearly a fortnight ago, India, Russia and China Friday called for continued international engagement to prevent Afghanistan from sliding back into becoming a safe haven for terrorists. They also underlined the need for resolving the Iranian nuclear issue and the Syrian crisis through dialogue.

India’s External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna held talks with his counterparts, Yang Jiechi of China and Sergei Lavrov of Russia under the trilateral RIC format on a wide range of international issues and decided to continue close political coordination amongst the three countries on key international issues like Afghanistan, Syria, Iran and the Korean issue.

The three ministers reviewed cooperation among their countries within the framework of other regional organisations such as BRICS, G-20, SCO and the East Asia Summit Process.

“The current international environment is witnessing dynamic shifts and volatile trends, which shall eventually delineate the contours of the future global scenario,” Krishna said at a joint media interaction after the trilateral meeting.

“India, Russia and China believe that they have a major role to play in addressing the global challenges,” he said.

India will host the next Russia-China-India trilateral meeting in 2013.

Afghanistan figured prominently in the discussions. “The ministers expressed deep concern over the continuing situation in Afghanistan and stressed the importance of the international community remaining engaged in Afghanistan,” the joint declaration said at the end of the meet. “They called on the international community to deal firmly with terrorist groups to obviate the risk of Afghanistan sliding back to being a safe haven for terrorists and extremists, threatening the region and beyond,” the declaration said.

“The ministers reaffirmed that Russia, India and China remained committed to a peaceful, stable, independent and prosperous Afghanistan,” he said.

The trilateral was formed 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 was launched in 2009 with Brazil. South Africa joined the BRIC grouping in 2011, changing the nomenclature of the grouping to BRICS.

Krishna pitched for a greater role for India in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). “The foreign ministers of Russia and China appreciated the constructive engagement of India with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and its willingness to play a greater role in the SCO,” said the joint declaration.

“India has something substantial to offer to the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in terms of strengthening the group,” Krishna said.

“India, with its billion-strong population, plays a very important role in the Shanghai regional group, where it has an observer status, and therefore India has expressed the desire to be involved in the organisation much more than it is today,” he added.

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated that Moscow supported granting full membership to India, as well as to Pakistan, “which has also sent in its application”.

On the Iranian nuclear standoff and the Syria crisis, there was a striking unanimity as the three countries “reaffirmed commitment to finding solutions to crises confronting the region’s countries within a legal framework and only through peaceful means, without outside interference.”

They also expressed deep concern over North Korea’s rocket launch and called for maximum restraint from any move which could lead to escalation of tension on the Korean Peninsula.

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