China requests meeting with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on sidelines of SCO amid border tension

Amid border tension between India and China in eastern Ladakh, Chinese Defence Minister General Wei Fenghe has requested for a meet with Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) meet on September 4 (Friday). 

Both the defence ministers are in Moscow, Russia, for the SCO defence minister meeting. India, Pakistan, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan are part of the SCO grouping.

India had received a request from China for a meet with Rajnath Singh when he was in Moscow for victory day celebrations earlier this year. At that time no meeting had happened. While it’s not confirmed that if India will agree to China’s request, the development comes amidst heightened tensions between the two countries.

On Thursday, India had said the ongoing situation at the LAC is due to “direct result of action” by China. Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said, “It is clear that the situation we witness over the past four months is a direct result of the actions taken by the Chinese side that sought to effect a unilateral change of status quo. These actions resulted in the violation of the bilateral agreements and protocol which ensured peace and tranquillity in the border areas for close to three decades.”

He also said, “I can say that the ground commanders are still holding discussions to resolve the situation. We reiterate the consensus reached between the two Foreign Ministers and SRs that the situation in the border should be handled in a responsible manner and either side should not take any provocative action or escalate matters.”

On August 31, the Indian Army had said the Chinese military carried out “provocative military movements” to “unilaterally” change the status quo on the southern bank of Pangong lake in eastern Ladakh on the intervening night of August 29 and 30 but the attempt was thwarted by the Indian troops.

“Now the way ahead is negotiations, both through the diplomatic and military channels. The Indian side is firmly committed to resolving all outstanding issues through peaceful dialogue. We therefore strongly urge the Chinese side to sincerely engage the  Indian side with the objective of expeditiously restoring the peace and tranquillity in the border areas through complete disengagement and de-escalation in accordance with the bilateral agreements and protocols,” added Srivastava.

Srivastava had on September 1 said the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) was engaged in “provocative action” again a day earlier when the ground commanders of the two sides were holding talks to ease the situation. Following the Chinese attempts, the Indian Army has strengthened its presence in at least three strategic heights in the southern bank of Pangong lake.

China requests meeting with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on sidelines of SCO amid border tension