Conflicts & War

China, India defense ministers could meet in Russia amid standoff

Beijing/New Delhi, Sep 4 (efe-epa).- The defense ministers of China and India respectively, could meet on Friday in Moscow on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit, according to Chinese state media and several private Indian ones.

According to a tweet by Global Times Editor-in-chief Hu Xijin, there was a huge possibility of Wei Fenghe and Rajnath Singh meeting in Russia due to progress made between the two sides.

“This arrangement between the two sides has made progress. The meeting between Wei Fenghe and Rajnath Singh has a big probability to be held,” said Hu.

Experts cited by the Global Times say the meeting would serve to reach an agreement to avoid mistakes in calculation leading to escalation of tensions on the so-called Line of Actual Control (LAC), or the de facto border between the two countries.

Indian media outlets such as the NDTV channel and the Hindustan Times, citing unnamed sources, have also reported the possibility of the meeting taking place, although there is no official confirmation yet from the defense ministry.

Amid the current crisis, Indian Army chief Manoj Mukund Naravane, following a visit to the disputed region along the border with China in Ladakh region, acknowledged Friday that the situation along the LAC was “slightly tense.”

“Keeping in view of the situation, we have taken precautionary deployment for our own safety and security, so that our security and integrity remain safeguarded,” the army chief told Indian news agency ANI.

Following a serious border clash between India and China in June, apart from events over the last week, Navarane underlined that they have been “continuously engaging with China both at the military and diplomatic levels” and that these talks would “continue in the future as well.”

Earlier this week, India accused the Chinese Army of fresh provocations over the weekend and at the border. On the other hand, a government spokesperson at Beijing urged New Delhi to “immediately” withdraw troops that “illegally” crossed the LAC on the southern shore of Pangong Tso Lake and near Reqin mountain.

According to India, the Chinese troops have attempted to alter the “status quo” along the de facto border, while Beijing has repeatedly denied that its troops crossed the disputed boundary.

The eastern frontier of Ladakh has been the source of confrontation and a long stand-off between the two sides that began in early May, with a massive build-up of troops along the LAC.

On Jun. 15, at least 20 Indian soldiers were killed and dozens more were wounded during a clash in the Galwan valley of Ladakh, marking the worst military confrontation between the two sides in 45 years. The Chinese side did not report any casualties.

Both nations have blamed one another for the clash in Galwan Valley, where no firearms were used. India accused its neighbor of concentrating troops and raising structures in the disputed area, while China claimed Indian forces provoked its soldiers.

New Delhi and Beijing remain in the process of withdrawing troops in the region, after several meetings between senior military officials of the two sides.

The two nuclear powers have a decades-old border dispute spread over a long boundary along the Himalayas, with Beijing claiming the Indian state of Arunchal Pradesh and New Delhi asserting sovereignty over the Aksai Chin region under Chinese control. EFE-EPA


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