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Foreign ministers of Russia, India, China meet in Moscow

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Amid Indo-China standoff in eastern Ladakh…

Moscow: The foreign ministers of Russia, India and China (RIC) on Thursday held trilateral talks on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in Moscow.

“Attended the RIC Foreign Ministers Meeting hosted by FM (Sergey) Lavrov in Moscow. Thank him for his warm hospitality. India takes on the Chair of the RIC process,” External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar tweeted along with a photograph of his counterparts from Russia and China.

Under the RIC framework, the foreign ministers of the three countries meet periodically to discuss bilateral, regional and international issues of their interest.

Jaishankar is in Moscow on a four-day visit to attend the meeting of foreign ministers of the SCO of which both India and China are members. Lavrov is the host of the meeting of SCO foreign ministers being held in the Russian capital from Wednesday to Thursday.

Media reports suggested that in a bid dial down tensions on the Line of Actual Control, Foreign Minister S Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi are holding talks in Moscow on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit.

The development comes amid a deepening crisis in Ladakh, with shots fired along the LAC in 45 years and Indian troops occupying key heights and thwarting Chinese moves in the Chushul sector. Jaishankar, who is on a four-day visit to Russia, and Wang also had a luncheon meeting of the RIC (Russia-India-China) grouping that was hosted by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov earlier in the day. This was the second meeting of Foreign Ministers of the RIC since the LAC standoff began early May.

“India-China are in touch via diplomatic, military channels to resolve situation, this was the consensus when defence ministers met. EAM will meet Chinese foreign minister shortly where he will discuss it. India committed to resolving border situation via peaceful negotiations,” Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said before the meeting.

Tensions have surged in Ladakh where 5000-7000 Chinese troops, backed by tanks and artillery, are in a face-off with Indian troops who occupied dominating heights on the south bank of Pangong Tso and Rechin La near Rezang La on August 29-30. Troops can now keep an eye on China’s Moldo garrison and prevent any attempt to ingress via the Spanggur Gap, reports suggested.

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