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LAC standoff: China seeks meeting between defence ministers in Moscow to discuss Ladakh situation, India yet to respond

The Chinese Defence Minister General Wei Fenghe has sought a meeting Friday with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) meeting of Defence Ministers in Moscow, say reports.

Amidst the ongoing tension between Indian and Chinese troops near the Pangong Tso region in Ladakh, the Chinese Defence Minister General Wei Fenghe has sought a meeting Friday with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) meeting of Defence Ministers in Moscow.

According to the reports, India has received a request from China for a meet with the Defence Minister in Moscow. Rajnath Singh is currently in the Russian capital to attend the SCO Defence Ministers’ meeting.

Reportedly, this is the third time that the Chinese side has asked for a meeting with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh after the standoff erupted in early May. Interestingly, the Indian side is yet to respond to the Chinese request.

The request from China to seek a meeting with India comes at the backdrop of the ongoing border tension between India and China in eastern Ladakh that escalated recently after India attained control of crucial strategic heights both in the northern and southern banks of the Pangong Tso Lake.

Solution to border standoff lies in diplomacy alone: EAM Jaishankar

Amidst threats from China to alter the status quo along the Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh, Union External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Thursday said the solution to the border standoff lies in diplomacy alone.

Speaking at the virtual launch of his book, ‘The India Way’, S Jaishankar said he said it was vital for both India and China to reach an “accommodation” not just for themselves, but the world has a lot riding on it.

The Foreign Minister also asserted that he was not underplaying the seriousness of the current situation or the challenges of the boundary question but said that he was convinced that the solution to border problem can only be found through diplomacy.

“It is imperative for both countries to reach an accommodation. There is a lot riding on it. Our position has been clear that we have agreements and understandings that should be scrupulously observed. Neither side should change the status quo. What happens on the border will impact the relationship,” the External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said.

He further added, “I made this point a few days earlier in another context, I would say that I am totally convinced that the solution to the situation has to be found in the domain of diplomacy. And I say that with responsibility”.

Jaishankar said India and China were two civilizational states which are going to enter the fourth industrial revolution when most other big civilizations could not make it.

Earlier, the Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Anurag Srivastava had issued a strong statement against China’s most recent belligerence along the LAC.

Srivastava said, “It is clear that the situation we witnessed 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.”

India takes control of strategic heights along LAC at Eastern Ladakh

The Indian armed forces have successfully taken control of crucial strategic heights in both the northern bank and southern banks of the Pangong Tso Lake around the Chushul sector in Eastern Ladakh along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). The Indian troops had marked their presence in those heights in order to thwart a stealthy midnight move by the Chinese to take control of Indian territories, as per reports.

On August 30, the Indian Army, aided by a Special Frontier Force unit, had captured the heights lying between the southern bank of the Pangong Lake and the smaller Spanggur Lake further south.

Indian troops had taken control of the dominating heights, connecting through a ridgeline along the LAC from the southern bank of Pangong Tso to Spanggur Tso till Chushul-Rezang La. Their positions extend up to Requin La, which overlooks the crucial PLA camp in Moldo, as per reports.

These locations are strategically important for India, as it gives a complete view of the Spanggur Gap, China’s Moldo Garrison, and also of Spanggur lake, which has now diluted the dominance of the of Chinese troops in the area.

The Indian troops have been deployed with the support from mechanized and infantry divisions, including a regiment of T-90 tanks near the Spanggur pass at Chushul to thwart any possible Chinese movement.

On Thursday, it was also reported that Indian armed forces have attained control of crucial strategic heights in the northern bank of the Pangong Tso Lake. The northern banks of Pangong Tso have been one of the key areas in the ongoing border confrontation in the high-altitude snow deserts of Ladakh.

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