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Tue, 06/23/2020 - 08:37

India Might Seek More Defence Supplies From Russia Amid Border Stand-Off With China, Professor Says

New Delhi (Sputnik): A week after a violent face-off, which left at least 20 soldiers dead, India’s Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar will be joining his counterparts from Beijing and Moscow for a trilateral conference on Tuesday. The foreign ministers of Russia, India and China are meeting for a special session to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Victory in the Second World War over Nazism and the creation of the United Nations. In the trilateral meeting, the three ministers are expected to discuss the current situation with the coronavirus pandemic and the challenges of global security, financial stability and cooperation. But with border tensions between India and China, speculation is running high around Russia’s role as a possible peacemaker. Following the June 15 incident which killed 20 Indian soldiers, Russia is believed to have reached out to both the sides to resolve the border row through talks. Sanjay Kumar Pandey, Professor at Centre for Russian and Central Asian Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, says formally there will be no talks on the border issues but there is a chance privately Russia might ask both India and China to engage and resolve. He recalls: “During the Doklam crisis also, Russia did not come out with any statement supporting any of the parties, but privately we got to know that perhaps Russia was egging on China to engage with India diplomatically and diffuse the situation. Russia might do something similar this time also, asking both the parties to formally resolve it but privately it might talk to both”. Currently, India’s Minister of Defence Rajnath Singh is in Moscow on a three-day visit to participate in the Victory Day parade on 24 June. Indian defence ministry sources have revealed that India is considering urging Russia to ramp up the delivery of its S-400 air defence missile systems. Pandey says: “I have a feeling, the supply of S-400 might be expeditious and maybe bilaterally, India might be asking for some more defence supplies. All these are possibilities. This can only happen in bilateral meeting and not in the presence of Chinese diplomats. Since defence minister is there, there might be some talk about more armaments. Privately, Russia then might ask China to diffuse tensions with India”. Amid the ongoing border stand-off, the Indian Air Force has also agreed to purchase 33 fighter jets (21 MiG-29s and 12 Su-30MKIs) from Russia under an emergency clause. Tensions between India and China have escalated following violent face-off between the troops of both the armies in the Galwan Valley. Both New Delhi and Beijing have maintained the conflict area as part of their territory. Leaders of Russia, India and China, who came together as a strategic triangle in the late 1990s, last met on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit in Osaka in July 2019. The strategic triangle was formed as “a counterbalance to the Western alliance”. The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik. Read more: