Rajnath meets Chinese counterpart in Moscow
Indo-Chinese field commanders hold interaction in eastern Ladakh
Moscow/New Delhi: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh Friday met his Chinese counterpart General Wei Fenghe on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) gathering of Defence Ministers in Moscow. This was the first high-level meeting between the two sides after the border row escalated in eastern Ladakh in early May.
Earlier in the day, while addressing a ministerial meeting of the SCO in Moscow, Singh underlined that a climate of trust, non-aggression, sensitivity towards each other and peaceful resolution of differences are among key aspects to ensure regional peace and stability. Notably, Singh made the comments in the presence of his Chinese counterpart Fenghe.
Sources said that Fenghe sought a meeting with Singh, days after Indian troops occupied heights in the Chushul sector for area domination.
Tensions between the two countries flared up after Indian troops, thwarting Chinese moves in the Chushul sector, occupied dominating heights on the south bank of Pangong Tso and Rechin La near Rezang La on the intervening night of August 29 and August 30.
Troops also moved to strengthen positions at Finger 3 on the Pangong north bank, occupying heights west of Finger 4 where the Chinese continue to occupy the ridgeline after coming in 8 km from Finger 8 which India says marks the LAC.
These Indian moves, sources said, will help in military and diplomatic talks with the Chinese to resolve the border crisis which began early May. The talks have not made much headway since mid-July because of Chinese reluctance to complete the disengagement process at Pangong Tso north bank and Gogra Post. India has been seeking status quo ante — of troops on both sides returning to their April locations.
Meanwhile, India and China on Friday held another round of brigade commander-level talks in eastern Ladakh to explore ways to bring down tensions triggered by Beijing’s fresh attempts to change the status quo in the southern bank of Pangong lake area, government sources said.
The interaction took place between 11 AM and 2 PM at a border point in Chushul, the sources said.
The outcome of the interaction was not immediately known.
Three rounds of Brigade Commander-level talks between the two militaries earlier this week remained inconclusive.
Both sides have significantly increased deployment of troops around Chushul and several other areas in the last few days following the fresh confrontation.