Chinese defence minister seeks meeting with Rajnath Singh amid LAC row
This is the third time that the Chinese defence ministry has sought a meeting with Singh after the standoff erupted in early May, they said. The Indian side is yet to respond to the Chinese request.Updated: Sep 03, 2020, 23:30 IST
The Chinese defence minister has sought a meeting with defence minister Rajnath Singh on the sidelines of the ongoing Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) meet in Russia, amid heightened military tensions between the two countries in eastern Ladakh, people familiar with the developments said on Thursday.
This is the third time that the Chinese defence ministry has sought a meeting with Singh after the standoff erupted in early May, they said. The Indian side is yet to respond to the Chinese request.
Tensions flared in the sensitive sector after the Indian Army occupied key heights on the southern bank of Pangong Lake five days ago to stop the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) from grabbing Indian territory in a stealthy midnight move. External affairs minister S Jaishankar is set to visit the Russian capital for the SCO foreign ministers’ meeting on September 10.
Speaking at a seminar organised by United States-India Strategic Partnership Forum on Navigating New Challenges, chief of defence staff General Bipin Rawat highlighted the threat of “coordinated action” by the militaries of China and Pakistan along the northern and western borders and stressed that the Indian armed forces were capable of handling the joint threat.
Russia on Thursday reiterated that it would not supply weapons to Pakistan during a meeting between Singh and his Russian counterpart General Sergei Shoigu, officials said. The Russian commitment on nor arms supply to Pakistan followed an Indian request, they said.
“The defence minister got Russia’s assurance that it stands by India’s security interest,” they said. Russia also strongly supported the Make in India initiative aimed at self-reliance in the defence sector during the one-hour meeting that covered a broad range of areas of bilateral cooperation.
“It was noted that this meeting coincides with the Indra Naval Exercises to be conducted by the Indian and Russia navies off the Strait of Malacca over the next two days,” the defence ministry said in a statement. Singh said the drills demonstrated the common interests of both countries in maritime security in the Indian Ocean Region.
“There was substantial commonality in positions with respect to challenges at the regional and international levels in the areas of peace and security, reflective of the deep trust and confidence that both sides enjoy as strategic partners,” the statement said. Singh conveyed India’s appreciation for the steadfast support provided by Russia to address the country’s defence and security needs, it said.
General Shoigu reiterated Russia’s commitment to engage actively with India on the Make in India programme, including substantial participation in the forthcoming Aero India-2021. The show will be staged staged at the Yelahanka air base outside Bengaluru from February 3 to 7 with all the necessary precautions to prevent the spread of the Covid-19.