China requests meeting with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh amid border tension

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Defence Minister Rajnath Singh (Image: Twitter/@rajnathsingh)
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh (Image: Twitter/@rajnathsingh)

New Delhi : Amid the ongoing tension between India and China along the eastern Ladakh, China's Defence Minister General Wei Fenghe has requested for a meeting with India's Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on the sidelines of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) on September 4. 

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

Earlier this year, during the victory day celebrations, India had requested a similar meeting in Moscow but that time no meeting had happened. And now, when China has requested for a meeting, India has not yet agreed to their request. 

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, Chinese soilders tried to capture the Indian peaks in Eastern Ladakh, but failed due to alert Indian Army. 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.

Following the Chinese attempts, the Indian Army has strengthened its presence in at least three strategic heights in the southern bank of Pangong lake.