What is it?
RIC Forum (Russia, India, China) is a group of countries that is evolving together in global politics who also have official summits.
When and why did it begin?
RIC as a strategic grouping first took shape in the late 1990s under the leadership of Yevgeny Primakov as “a counterbalance to the Western alliance.”
Why is it in news currently?
During the G-20 Summit in Osaka, Russia, India, and China (RIC) held the latest iteration of a trilateral meeting between them. While the grouping itself is nothing new – the notion of meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 meeting began in 2018 and many other meetings were held during the G-20 meeting this year as well – the RIC meet was significant this year.
How is the current geopolitics under Trump impacting RIC?
The idea of meeting at the leader’s level on a more sustained basis has only surfaced over the past couple of years. The three sides had done so last year at the G-20 meeting in Argentina, where there was also a focus on the trilateral summit between the United States, India and Japan, called JAI (Japan, America, India). And on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) meeting in Kyrgyzstan, the leaders agreed to meet again in Osaka during the G-20 Summit.
In the current period of geopolitical transition, there is an effort to renew and rebuild some of these old initiatives as a way to counter the U.S.-led world order.
These efforts started in Bishkek, when Russian President Vladimir Putin, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and Chinese President Xi Jinping held separate bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the SCO Summit in 2019.
While the Russia-China leg of the triangle has been fairly strong in the last few years, Modi has also had reasons in recent times to cozy up to Russia and China in the wake of U.S. President Donald Trump’s tariff war with India, especially since the Trump administration has withdrawn India’s Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) and imposed tariffs on Indian goods.
To be sure, India has remained a key partner in the United States’ Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy, and Modi too has sought a close strategic partnership with the United States in an effort to address China’s rising power. But the recent trade and tariff war may cast a negative shadow on the broader U.S.-India strategic ties, which stands to advantage China and Russia. It is no coincidence that the RIC meeting and the strengthened bonhomie among the three leaders has come amid these difficulties between the United States and India.
Which issues did PM Modi stress in the Osaka summit of RIC?
Modi, in his opening remarks to the RIC meeting in Osaka, underlined the importance of the RIC grouping and the exchange among the three on the global economic, political, and security situation. He highlighted the usefulness of the exchange of views at the earlier meeting of the RIC foreign ministers in China in February. Modi said that the foreign ministers had discussed all important issues including “promotion of counterterrorism, international hot-spot issues, reformed multilateralism, climate change and cooperation under RIC.”