India will explore the possibility of greater cooperation in the Asia Pacific region with China and Russia, in an attempt to allay Beijing’s apprehensions over a proposed axis New Delhi is seeking with the US, Japan and Australia.
The foreign ministers of India, Russia and China will meet at a day-long session in New Delhi on December 11.
India is likely to push for naming Pakistan-based terror groups such as the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e- Mohammed (JeM) in the joint communique to be adopted at the meeting.
Experts familiar with the developments said India would raise a number of contentious issues such as India’s bid for entry to the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group and Beijing scuttling New Delhi’s move to designate JeM chief Masood Azhar as a terror mastermind.
India is also set to raise the issue of release of Mumbai attack mastermind and Jamaat- ud-Dawah (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed from house arrest by Pakistan.
External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi and Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov will discuss key strategic issues at the meeting.
On South China Sea, India is expected to pitch for countries respecting all provisions of UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and ensuring freedom of navigation in the resource-rich waters. There will be enough diplomatic jostling before the countries agree for a structured discussion on Asia Pacific.
In September, the BRICS summit — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – had for the first time named Pakistan- based terror groups LeT, JeM and the Haqqani network in its declaration, which was seen as a major diplomatic victory for India.
Though India may raise the contentious issues, it will highlight the need for joining hands by the three countries to pursue common strategic interests in the region, it is learnt.
It is understood that India will strongly push for strengthening cooperation among the three countries in effectively countering terrorism in the region and beyond.
Relations between India and China witnessed a downturn owing to differences over a series of issues including China blocking India’s move to get Masood Azhar banned by the UN, its opposition to India’s bid for NSG membership and New Delhi cold sholdering the Belt and Road initiative.