A week after the deadly clashes in Ladakh, Foreign Minister S Jaishankar on Tuesday (June 23) told a trilateral meeting, also attended by his Chinese counterpart, that the leading voices of the world need to respect international law while recognising the interests of partners.
His remarks came in presence of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi at a virtual conference of the Russia-India-China (RIC) trilateral. The two ministers last week had a telephonic conversation following the killing of 20 Indian soldiers in the Galwan Valley clash.
“This special meeting reiterates our belief in the time-tested principles of international relations. But the challenge today is not just one of concepts and norms, but equally of their practice,” Jaishankar said while addressing the online conference on Tuesday.
“The leading voices of the world must be exemplars in every way. Respecting international law, recognising the legitimate interests of partners, supporting multilateralism and promoting common good are the only way of building a durable world order,” he added.
The external affairs minister’s comments are seen as an indirect message to China, which has been adopting an aggressive posturing along its land boundary with India besides increasing its activities in the Indian Ocean region.
Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, in his remarks at the meeting, ruled out mediating between India and China, saying that the two nations do not need any kind of assistance to resolve their disputes. “I do not think that India and China need any help, any kind of assistance specifically aimed at helping them to resolve disputes,” he said.
In his initial remarks, Jaishankar also said that India did not get its due recognition in the global order post World War II and that the historical injustice remained “uncorrected” for the last 75 years. “When the victors met to fashion the ensuing global order, the political circumstances of that era did not give India due recognition. This historical injustice has stood uncorrected for the last 75 years, even as the world has changed,” he said.
Therefore, he said, it was important for the world to realise both the contribution that India made and the need to rectify the past.
Jaishankar also spoke about the need for reforming the United Nations so it can represent the current reality of the globe. “But beyond history, international affairs must also come to terms with contemporary reality. The United Nations began with 50 members; today it has 193. Surely, its decision making cannot continue to be in denial of this fact,” he said.
“We, the RIC countries, have been active participants in shaping the global agenda. It is India’s hope that we will also now converge on the value of reformed multilateralism,” Jaishankar added.
He said India made significant sacrifices in the World War II which needed to be recognised. “The victory over Nazism and Fascism was achieved through sacrifices across many theatres by many countries. India made a significant contribution, with 2.3 million of its citizens under arms and 14 million more participating in war production,” he said.
“Indian blood was shed at the battlefields of the world, from Tobruk, El Alamein and Montecassino, to Singapore, Kohima and Borneo,” the minister added.
He said India helped to keep key supply lines open to both Russia and China – one through the Persian corridor and the other over the Himalayan hump.
“If Indian personnel were conferred the Order of the Red Star, the medical mission led by Dr Kotnis was a legend in China. So tomorrow, when our military contingent marches through the Red Square, it would be an affirmation of the difference that we made,” he said.
Russia is organising a grand military parade on Wednesday to mark 75th anniversary of Soviet victory over Germany in the Second World War.
(With inputs from agencies)