India’s contact diplomacy has borne fruit after both China and Russia agreed it is important to eradicate the breeding grounds of terrorism and extremism, which is seen as a thinly veiled reference to Pakistan. The Foreign Ministers of the three countries are currently in China for a pre-arranged meeting in the Russia-India-China (RIC) format.
'We agreed to jointly combat all forms of terrorism through closer policy coordination and practical cooperation,' the Chinese Foreign Minister, Mr. Wang Yi, said at the end of the RIC meeting. The fact that India was able to persuade Russia and China to speak against the 'breeding grounds' of terrorism suggests a forward movement in its endeavour to root out Jaish-e-Mohammed from its sanctuaries.
However, India’s diplomatic outreach struck a sore note in Pakistan. Its Foreign Minister, Mr. Shah Mehmood Qureshi, threatened to boycott a meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) if Mrs. Sushma Swaraj was the guest of honour.
The tense situation also elicited a rare statement on the region from Mr. Dmitry Peskov, the Press Secretary of the Russian President, who said Moscow is extremely concerned about the news coming in, we are very closely monitoring the situation and, of course, we urge all parties to show restraint'.
Earlier, the US Secretary of State, Mr. Mike Pompeo, asked his Indian and Pakistani counterparts to prioritise direct communication and avoid further military activity. He is in Hanoi marshalling the US-North Korea summit, but the tension in the sub-continent elicited personal intervention.
Mr. Pompeo asked Islamabad to address the core issue of the current acrimony — terrorist camps on its soil — that led to Indian airstrikes. In his conversation with Sushma Swaraj on Tuesday, he underlined the intensifying Indo-US security partnership while with the Pakistani Foreign Minister, Mr. Qureshi, he underscored the priority of de-escalating tension.
Similar messages of restraint and enjoining Pakistan to dismantle terror camps have come from France, China, Australia, Germany and the EU. Nepal, as the current Chair of SAARC, called on both sides not to engage in actions that would threaten the region’s stability.