LAC: Rajnath Singh tells Chinese counterpart to restore status quo
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday held talks with Chinese counterpart Gen. Wei Fenghe in Moscow amid a border conflict between the two nations. Singh reportedly pushed for the restoration of status quo ante at all friction points along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Eastern Ladakh. The two leaders were present in Moscow for a Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) meeting.
Moscow meeting lasted for over 2 hours
Singh's meeting with his Chinese counterpart lasted for 2 hours and 20 minutes. Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar and Indian Ambassador to Russia DB Venkatesh Varma were part of the Indian delegation at the talks. Sources told PTI that the Indian delegation strongly objected to China's fresh attempts to change the status quo in Eastern Ladakh and pushed for the restoration of status quo ante.
At SCO meet, Singh referred to WWII, urged peaceful resolution
The two leaders attended a meeting of SCO defense ministers in Moscow earlier Friday. In his address at the meet, Singh said peace and security in the region demands a climate of trust, non-aggression, peaceful resolution of differences, and respect for international rules. He referred to World War II and said its memories teach us the "follies of aggression" of one state on another.
Talks held after recent LAC tensions near Pangong Tso
The talks mark the first highest-level face-to-face contact since border tensions intensified after recent provocations along the LAC. India occupied multiple strategic heights on the southern bank of Pangong Tso lake and strengthened its presence in Finger 2 and Finger 3 areas. However, China objected to this move, even as India claims its troops remain on its side of the LAC.
Border tensions remain heightened since early-May clash
Tensions along the LAC intensified after clashes between the two forces at various locations in early-May. Since then, both sides have been engaged in diplomatic and military-level talks. However, even as the talks continued, a violent clash erupted in the Galwan Valley on June 15, which led to the martyrdom of 20 Indian Army soldiers. China has not confirmed the official number of casualties.
Army chief assures India can count on its forces
Chief of Army Staff General MM Naravane—who had embarked on a two-day visit to Ladakh on Thursday—described the situation along the LAC as "tense," but assured that India can count on the Army. "The troops are prepared for all contingencies that may arise," General Naravane said, adding that the Army will utilize all existing mechanisms to ensure the status quo is not unilaterally changed.
There will be no compromise on India's sovereignty: Foreign Secretary
Separately, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said that there will be no compromise on India's sovereignty and territorial integrity. The Foreign Secretary said it cannot be "business as usual" in bilateral ties with China unless peace and tranquility in the border areas are ensured. He added that India is prepared to resolve outstanding border issues through dialogue.