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Diplomacy

When China, Russia and India come together on a personal level, the world must take notice

PUBLISHED : Monday, 11 June, 2018, 7:00pm
UPDATED : Monday, 11 June, 2018, 7:00pm

My father used to say that nothing significant takes place during an official event (“What to look for when the leaders of China, Russia, Iran and India meet for this year’s Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit”, June 8).

On April 13, 1941, at a Moscow railway station, Joseph Stalin bid personal farewell to then Japanese foreign minister Yosuke Matsuoka – and the Soviet Union was never attacked in the east during the second world war.

On October 31, 1961, Stalin’s body was removed from the Mausoleum in Red Square. On November 11 of the same year, Stalingrad was renamed Volgograd and my father, then a student at the Moscow University, was baffled when his friends from China and Albania failed to return from the holidays.

Something quite the opposite is happening this year. On May 22, at a provincial airport, Vladimir Putin personally bid farewell to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and on June 6 in an interview to CCTV, he revealed that he had celebrated his birthday with only one world leader, Chinese President Xi Jinping. And the fact that the two drank vodka is hugely symbolic in Russia (“Why Xi Jinping is the man for me: Vladimir Putin highlights birthday party with ‘good friend’”, June 6).

Watch: Putin talks about celebrating his birthday with Xi

The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation no longer exists only on paper. And the very fact that its eight member states include the largest on this planet by territory, Russia, by economy and population, China, and the second-largest by population, India, may well mark a watershed in the world economy.

Mergen Mongush, Moscow