October 26, 2020, 10:23 pm


2020-09-11 08:30:24 BdST

Indian, Chinese foreign ministers to meet in Moscow amid border tensions

In a bid to dial down tensions on the Line of Actual Control, Indian Foreign Minister S Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi is set to hold a meeting soon in Moscow on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) of India announced on Thursday evening.

The development comes amid a deepening crisis in Ladakh, with shots fired along the LAC in 45 years and Indian troops occupying key heights and thwarting Chinese moves in the Chushul sector.

Jaishankar, who is on a four-day visit to Russia, and Wang also had a luncheon meeting that was hosted by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov earlier in the day.

“India-China are in touch via diplomatic, military channels to resolve situation, this was the consensus when defence ministers met. EAM will meet Chinese foreign minister shortly where he will discuss it. India committed to resolving border situation via peaceful negotiations,” MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said.

Tensions have surged in Ladakh where 5,000-7,000 Chinese troops, backed by tanks and artillery, are in a face-off with Indian troops who occupied dominating heights on the south bank of Pangong Tso and Rechin La near Rezang La on August 29-30. Troops can now keep an eye on China’s Moldo garrison and prevent any attempt to ingress via the Spanggur Gap.

With the occupation of these heights, the Indians hope to make the Chinese return to the disengagement talks table. The Chinese have been reluctant to complete troop disengagement on the Pangong Tso north bank and at Gogra Post. Nearly 50,000 Chinese troops have massed along the Ladakh frontier, and the Indian Army has mirrored the deployment.

Jaishankar and Wang last had a videoconference meeting on June 23 after the Galwan Valley clash. They had spoken to each over phone on June 17, two days after the incident in which 20 Indian Army personnel and an unspecified number of Chinese troops were killed in clashes.

Earlier in the day, Jaishankar held separate meetings with his Uzbek and Kazakh counterparts and agreed to cooperate with the key Central Asian countries on regional concerns and security.

“Agreed to coordinate closely on regional concerns. Will take forward our growing development partnership. Appreciate Uzbekistan’s vital role in our Central Asian engagement,” Jaishankar tweeted. On Wednesday, Jaishankar had separate meetings with his Tajik and Kyrgyz counterparts.

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