By Nilofar Suhrawardy, Muslim Media News Service (MMNS)
NEW DELHI–Categorically dismissing selective approaches in fighting terrorism, India, Russia and China laid out last week that double standards in fighting this menace were unacceptable.
Signaling their desire to give multilateral diplomacy a boost, the foreign ministers of Russia (Sergei Lavrov), India (Pranab Mukherjee) and China (Li Zhaoxing) held their meeting here (February 14).
During the meeting, held in a â€œvery frank and cordial atmosphere,â€ they shared their views on â€œpolitical, economic and security aspects of the global situation, the present world order and recent developments in various areas of mutual concern,â€ Mukherjee said.
After their meeting, the three ministers said they welcomed the â€œsuccessâ€ of six-party talks on North Korean nuclear issue leading to Pyongyangâ€™s agreement to abandon its nuclear weapons program in return for energy or aid.
â€œWe welcome the breakthrough and the success in the six-party talks on the Korean nuclear issue,â€ Lavrov said during their joint interaction with press.
Referring to their having discussed topical issues, he said: â€œWe discussed most [of the] burning issues of world politics and had a broad approach on many international issues.â€ The key issues included the Iranian nuclear crisis, Iraq, Afghanistan, the Middle East peace process and de-nuclearization of Korean peninsula.
â€œWe agreed that cooperation rather than confrontation should govern approaches to regional and global affairs,â€ Mukherjee said.
Emphasizing the need to reinvigorate the United Nations (UN), Lavrov said that all regional and international problems could be resolved â€œthrough dialog.â€ Laying stress on the need for cooperation between three of the fastest-growing economies of the world, Li said: â€œThe economies of all the three countries are growing fast. I believe there is great complementarity and potential for tripartite corporation. We discussed how to widen and deepen cooperation in fields like energy, transport, economy and trade.â€
This was their first structured meeting at the ministerial level, giving a thrust to the trilateral forum agenda. The three foreign ministers had met exclusively for a trilateral meeting for the first time in Vladivostok in June 2005. The first summit-level meeting between Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Hu Jintao in the trilateral framework was held in the Russian city of St. Petersburg in July 2006, on the sidelines of the G-8 summit. The tone for the New Delhi meeting was set during Putinâ€™s talks with Manmohan Singh here last month.
Since this meeting was held within four days of Putinâ€™s having criticized US foreign policy at Munich, there was some speculation on their approach here.
However, they dismissed this apprehension by clearly stating in their joint communiquÃ©, issued after the meeting: reaffirming â€œthat trilateral cooperation was not directed against the interests of any other country and was, on the contrary, intended to promote international harmony and understanding and find common ground amidst divergent interests.â€
The ministers â€œdiscussed the political, security and economic aspects of the current global situation, besides exchanging views on how international relations are being presently conducted,â€ according to the communiquÃ©.
Acknowledging that the UN â€œis an appropriate instrument for promoting and attainingâ€ a â€œworld order,â€ they stressed on reforms at the UN and â€œshared the view that member states should make the UN more transparent, efficient and reflective of contemporary realities.â€
Accepting that international terrorism posed a â€œgrave threat to all nations,â€ the ministers â€œagreed that under central and coordinating role of the UN and within the framework of its Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy collective action must be strengthened further by taking into account the mutating character of terrorism and its networks.â€
They agreed early on using the force of international conventions to suppress acts of nuclear terrorism. They agreed that the â€œearliest possible adoption in the UN of the India-sponsored draft Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism would lead to further consolidation of the international legal basis for combating terrorism.â€
Emphasizing that there can be â€œno justification for any act of terrorism,â€ they â€œstressed that selective approaches in counter-terrorism cannot yield sustainable results and it should be combated in a consistent, sustained and comprehensive manner without any double standards.â€ They agreed to â€œcoordinate action against all factors that feed international terrorism.â€
The ministers agreed that because of the increasing international influence of India, Russia and China, they â€œcan make substantive positive contribution to global peace, security and stability.â€
Welcoming Indiaâ€™s joining the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) as an observer country, Russia and China stated that they would actively facilitate early realization of mutually beneficial contribution of India to SCO.
In view of the â€œhigh potential of trilateral cooperation and synergy in the economic field,â€ the ministers agreed to organize a trilateral business forum for â€œmutually beneficial economic interactionâ€ among them.
Expressing satisfaction at their New Delhi-meeting, the ministers agreed to hold their next meeting in China.
Though the three countriesâ€™ concern regarding the US approach towards Iran played a major role in their giving a new importance to their trilateral forum, it may be noted that they did not directly refer to this in their communiquÃ©.
However, the three powerful nations are opposed to US military intervention in Iran.
On Iranâ€™s nuclear-stand, the three favor a negotiated solution through the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).