Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and his Chinese counterpart General Wei Fenghe had frank and in-depth discussions about the developments in the India-China border areas as well as on India-China relations.
The two Ministers met in Moscow yesterday on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) meeting. The Defence Minister’s office said, Mr Singh emphasized that the actions of the Chinese troops, including amassing a large number of troops, their aggressive behaviour and attempts to unilaterally alter the status quo, were in violation of the bilateral agreements. Mr Singh categorically conveyed India’s position on the developments along the Line of Actual Control including in the Galwan valley in the Western Sector of the India-China Border Areas in the last few months.
The Defence Minister stated clearly that while the Indian troops had always taken a very responsible approach towards border management, at the same time there should also be no doubt about determination to protect India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. He said that both sides should take guidance from the consensus of the leaders that maintenance of peace and tranquillity in the India-China border areas was essential for the further development of bilateral relations and that the two sides should not allow differences to become disputes.
Mr Singh advised that it was important that Chinese side should work with the Indian side for complete disengagement at the earliest from all friction areas including Pangong Lake as well as de-escalation in border areas in accordance with the bilateral agreements and protocols. He further said that the current situation should be handled responsibly and that neither side should take any further action that could either complicate the situation or escalate matters in the border areas. Mr Singh also conveyed that the two sides should continue their discussions, including through diplomatic and military channels, to ensure complete disengagement and de-escalation and full restoration of peace and tranquillity along the LAC at the earliest.
The Defence Ministry said in a statement that the Defence Minister of China said that both sides should scrupulously implement the consensus reached between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping. The Minister suggested that both sides should maintain communication at all levels including between the two Ministers.