Defence minister Rajnath Singh on Friday held talks with his Chinese counterpart General Wei Fenghe on the sidelines of the ongoing Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) meet in Moscow at a time when the two nuclear powers have been locked in a bitter border row in eastern Ladakh for around four months, officials familiar with the developments said.
In the highest level of government contact between India and China since the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) unilaterally changed the established order on the contested Line of Actual Keep watch over (LAC) in May, the two ministers are understood to have discussed the border stalemate and the way forward to minimize military tensions in the Ladakh sector.
The Chinese side had sought the assembly, the officials said.
The assembly, details of which have been yet to emerge at the time of going to press, came days after fresh tension erupted in the Ladakh sector following provocative Chinese actions on the southern bank of Pangong Lake and India’s counter-manoeuvres to occupy key heights that offer the Indian Army a sweeping view of Chinese military activity in the area.
Hours before assembly Wei, Singh, while speaking at an SCO ministerial assembly in Moscow, underscored the need for countries in the SCO region to be touchy to one another’s interests and get to the bottom of differences peacefully, with a climate of believe, non-aggression, sensitivity towards each and every other.
The comments were made in the presence of Fenghe.
“Peaceable steady and protected region of SCO member states – which is home to over 40% of global population, demands a climate of believe and cooperation, non-aggression, respect for international rules and norms, sensitivity to one another’s interest and peaceable resolution of differences,” Singh tweeted, summing up his address at the combined assembly of defence ministers of SCO, Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) and Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) member states.
“I reaffirm today that India is dedicated to the evolution of a global security architecture which will be open, translucent, inclusive, rules-based and anchored in international laws… This year marks the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War in addition to the formation of the United Nations, which underpins a peaceable world, where international laws and sovereignty of states are respected and states chorus from unilateral aggression on another,” Singh used to be quoted by PTI as saying in his address.
Singh and his Chinese counterpart met on a day Indian Army chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane said that the situation along the LAC used to be “fragile and serious”, and soldiers were prepared for any contingency. In Ladakh for a security review, Naravane said India would use existing mechanisms to minimize tensions and make sure that the established order along the LAC isn’t unilaterally changed. The army chief said the Indian side used to be firmly dedicated to resolving the current situation through dialogue.
The outside matters ministry on Thursday blamed China for the tensions along the LAC during the last four months and said the only way forward used to be through negotiations.
In July, Singh said the progress in negotiations with China will have to help get to the bottom of the ongoing border dispute but he “couldn’t warranty to what extent the situation will be resolved”.
Tensions flared in the Ladakh sector after the Indian Army occupied key heights on the southern bank of Pangong Lake to stop the PLA from grabbing Indian territory in a stealthy middle of the night move on August 29.
The PLA made another provocative move on August 31, targeting these positions but the Indian Army’s swift defensive action thwarted the Chinese attempt. Both sides have concentrated a remarkable number of soldiers, tanks and artillery pieces; and are inside each and every other’s rifle range.
The Indian Army has readjusted its deployments at more than one points along the LAC, including the northern bank of Pangong Lake, to prevent the PLA from making aggressive moves to unilaterally alter the established order in contested areas.
In his address earlier all through the day, Singh also flagged concerns approximately the situation in the Persian Gulf region. He said: “India has imperative interests and links of civilisation and culture with all states in the Gulf. We call upon countries in the region – all of which are dear and friendly to India, to get to the bottom of differences by dialogue based on mutual respect, sovereignty and non-interference in internal matters of one another.”
Singh said the security situation in Afghanistan used to be a matter of concern and New Delhi would continue to toughen the efforts of the people and Afghan government for an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled inclusive peace process.
Foreign secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla on Friday termed the ongoing border tension with China as “unprecedented situation” and said that India remains firmly dedicated to preserving its territorial integrity and sovereignty.
“It is an unprecedented situation; we have never had this type of situation since 1962. We have missing for the first time, lives of soldiers which has not happened in the final 40 years,” Shringla said while speaking at the Indian Council for World Matters (ICWA) webinar on India-China border issue.