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'Trilateral summit augurs well for strategic ties'

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July 16, 2006 16:21 IST

The maiden summit of top leaders of India, China and Russia under the trilateral mechanism in St Petersburg augurs well for further development of their bilateral strategic ties and for the maintenance of global peace and security, Chinese diplomats and experts said in Beijing.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Chinese President Hu Jintao and Russian President Vladimir Putin are scheduled to meet on July 17 for the first time in Saint Petersburg, Russia, on the sidelines of the G-8 Summit.

"I believe they (the three leaders) will talk about how to make the three countries play a positive and constructive role in the world to safeguard global peace and promote international cooperation," Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister, Cui Tiankai, said.

Cui, who is accompanying Hu to Russia to attend the outreach session of the G-8 Summit, said it was a 'natural' move by China, India and Russia to upgrade their trilateral-level discussions after the foreign ministers held meetings annually for some years.

This is the first time that the top leaders of India, China and Russia would be meeting. In the past, their foreign ministers have met on the sidelines of the United Nations' meeting and in Vladivostok, Russia in June 2005.

"The foreign ministers of the three countries have been meeting each others for many years. So it is natural for the leaders of the three countries to continue their meetings in St Petersburg," Cui said.

Cui said the outcome of the Singh-Hu-Putin talks could play a 'positive and constructive' role in safeguarding global peace and international cooperation. The Chinese assistant foreign minister stressed that China, India and Russia exert important influence in the world. Both Russia and India are also neighbours of China, he noted.

He pointed out that China has established a strategic partnership with Russia and it has been developing very well. During Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to India last year, China and India also upgraded their relations to a strategic partnership, Cui noted.

Commenting on the significance of the Singh-Hu-Putin summit, former Chinese Ambassador to India Cheng Ruisheng said it was a good move since it would give the top leadership of the three nations to exchange views on bilateral, regional and global issues of common interest.

Cheng, who is actively involved in the trilateral meetings of scholars of the three countries, said the leaders may discuss economic and trade issues at the meeting, which holds great promise. At the same time, political relations between China and Russia and China and India have been strengthened with the establishment of strategic ties, he noted.

Cheng also welcomed the holding of high-level trilateral summit saying that it was quite common for Western leaders to meet, but it is quite rare for the leadership of developing countries to hold such summits. Chinese analysts noted that the proposal to hold the trilateral high-level summit this time has come from the Russian side and Beijing and New Delhi accepted the initiative as it was beneficial for boosting the cooperation among the three countries as well as to maintain multi-polarity, peace, security and development of the world.

The trilateral summit would confirm the readiness of the China, India and Russia to cooperate in such a framework, which is useful to political and economic cooperation in Asia, they said. The trilateral relationship between India, China and Russia was first mooted by former Russian Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov during a visit to New Delhi in 1998. Following this, scholars from the three nations have been meeting regularly.

Anil K Joseph in Beijing
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