A Roadmap for RIC

Together, Russia, India and China occupy around 50 percent of Asia's landmass. The three countries constitute some of the largest economies in Asia. There are a lot of potential synergies among the three countries, making a compelling case for their collaboration.

The Russia-India-China (RIC) grouping is the only body that brings together the three largest Asian countries at a time when there is a churning in the existing security Tarchitecture in the region. But, RIC seems to have lost steam amidst the alphabet soup of multilaterals in which the three countries are engaged, despite some efforts lately to rejuvenate the forum.

Together, Russia, India and China occupy around 50 percent of Asia’s landmass. The three countries constitute some of the largest economies in Asia. They certainly also have the largest political stakes in the region. There are a lot of potential synergies among the three countries, making a compelling case for their collaboration. Therefore, it is natural that they should have a significant say in the emerging governance architecture in their neighbourhood and be an influential voice on issues of global governance.

Given the commonality of strategic goals, the RIC forum appears to be an appropriate platform that should now identify a unique roster of issues, which would differentiate it from other multilateral organisations, like BRICS and SCO, as well as allow the three powers to specify common objectives in the region and at global forums.

The first task would be to flag important issues in which the forum should engage. This exercise needs to be ambitious as well as steeped in a degree of realism. Congruent interests must also be accommodated in this effort. The three countries need to spell out some of the nuanced yet converging positions on key issues. Keeping these twin objectives in mind, some of the potential areas of engagement at the RIC forum may include:

(i) Afghanistan;

(ii) Counter-Terrorism & Cyber Security;

(iii) Strategic Dialogue;

(iv) Convergence on Central Asia;

 (v) Russian Far-East;

(vi) Expanded Security Cooperation;

(vii) Nuclear Cooperation;

(viii) Energy Cooperation;

(ix) Tapping the Social Sector;

(x) Commerce & Trade;