Moscow sees no need to mediate India-China standoff


Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov listens as Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic speaks during a joint press conference in Belgrade, Serbia, Thursday, June 18, 2020. Lavrov is on a two-day official visit to Serbia. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

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MOSCOW (AP) — Russia will not be stepping in to mediate between China and India following a deadly border clash in the Himalayas, the country’s foreign minister said Tuesday.

Sergey Lavrov said after a video call with his Chinese and Indian counterparts that Beijing and New Delhi don’t need outside assistance to settle their differences.

“We never had a goal to help India and China develop their bilateral ties,” Lavrov said in a call with reporters. “India and China have every opportunity to tackle and solve any problems in relations between them.”

Lavrov spoke to Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar in the wake of last week’s clashes which saw 20 Indian soldiers die. China has not released any information on its casualties.

Soldiers brawled with clubs, rocks and their fists in the thin air at 4,270 meters (14,000 feet) above sea level. A previous agreement in the border dispute bans the use of firearms.

The confrontation in the Galwan Valley, part of the disputed Ladakh region along the Himalayan frontier, was the deadliest between the two countries in 45 years. India blames China for instigating the fight by developing infrastructure in the valley, which it said was a breach of the agreement of what area remained in dispute.

The valley falls within a remote stretch of the 3,380-kilometer (2,100-mile) Line of Actual Control — the border established following a war between India and China in 1962 that resulted in an uneasy truce.

Moscow has maintained close ties with both Beijing and New Delhi.

Lavrov also hailed India and China for sending contingents of soldiers to take part in Wednesday’s parade on Red Square marking the 75th anniversary of the Nazi defeat in World War II.

He also emphasized their close cooperation within the BRICS group of countries, which also includes Brazil, Russia and South Africa. He also noted that India’s entry into the Shanghai Cooperation Organization has helped bolster regional security.

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