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India-Russia-China trilateral meeting next week

May 29, 2005 14:29 IST

Foreign ministers of India, Russia and China will hold talks on a whole spectrum of issues in Russia's far-eastern port city of Vladivostok on June 2.

This is the first such 'standalone' trilateral meeting.

External Affairs Minister K Natwar Singh will leave on Tuesday for the meeting with his counterparts from Russia and China, Sergei Lavrov and Li Zhaoxing respectively.

The foreign ministers of the three countries have met thrice in the past -- twice on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in 2002 and 2003 and the next year in Almaty when they gathered for the meeting of confidence-building measures in Asia.

Official sources in New Delhi said the meeting was expected to give a new impetus to collaboration between the three countries.

Ahead of the meeting, Lavrov said in Moscow, "Our relations are developing and they are not aimed against anybody, but are pursued in the interests of our countries."

During his visit to Vladivostok, Singh is also likely to hold a separate meeting with Lavrov to discuss the entire gamut of bilateral ties.   

New Delhi has emphatically stated that the trilateral engagement was not aimed at creating any power bloc or to target any country.

It was set up as a forum to explore how the three countries could take advantage of each other's strengths for the benefit of their people.

UN reforms, including the enlargement of the Security Council, will be one issue that Singh will be keen to discuss with his interlocutors.

Russia has voiced its support for India becoming a permanent member of the Security Council, while China remains non-committal though it says New Delhi has an important role to play in world affairs.

China, which overcame initial reservations about entering into the trilateral engagement, has since shown active interest in developing these relations.

The trilateral engagement was originally a Russian proposal first mooted in 1998 by the then prime minister Yevgeny Primakov.

On his visit to India April, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao had stated that China, Russia and India were countries with inluence.

"We have the same or similar positions and concerns in such issues as promoting the democratisation of international relations and maintaining international security and stability," he had said.

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