Defence Minister Rajnath Singh is likely to meet the Chinese Minister of National Defence for a meeting in Moscow today, amid heightened military tensions between the two countries in eastern Ladakh.
While an official confirmation is awaited, sources told India Today that Defence Minister Rajnath Singh is expected to accept Chinese Minister of National Defence Wei Fenghe’s request for a meeting on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Russia.
This comes after Wei Fenghe, the Chinese Minister of National Defence on Thursday sought a meeting with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh in Moscow.
The development comes at a time when Indian and Chinese troops are engaged in a military standoff along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh.
Rajnath Singh landed in Moscow late Wednesday night and a day later, held a delegation-level meeting with Russian Defence Minister General Sergei Shoygu.
Wei Fenghe is also in Moscow for the meeting. He is one of the four members of China’s Central Military Commission. The Commission is headed by Xi Jinping with Xu Qiliang and Zhang Youxia as Vice Chairmen.
The purpose of this meet between defence ministers of SCO member nations is to discuss regional security challenges along with terrorism and other key issues.
India, China, Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan are the eight-member nations of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.
This is Defence Minister Rajnath Singh’s second visit to Moscow since Chinese troops altered the status quo at friction points along the LAC in eastern Ladakh in May of this year.
A violent clash between the Indian Army and the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in Galwan Valley led to the death of 20 Indian soldiers and an unknown number of casualties on the Chinese side.
Both countries have since engaged in multiple rounds of diplomatic and military dialogue to ensure disengagement and de-escalation in the region. However, the Chinese have refused to move out of disputed finger areas in Pangong Tso despite assurances. Attempts were also made by the PLA to capture unmarked territory on August 29, 30 and 31. Reports have indicated that these attempts were successfully thwarted by the Indian Army.