Amid LAC faceoff, Chinese Defence Minister seeks meeting with Rajnath on sidelines of SCO

Amid the standoff between the two countries at the LAC in eastern Ladakh, Chinese Defence Minister has sought a meeting with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on the sidelines of a key Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) meet in Moscow. According to ANI sources, the Chinese side conveyed to the Indian mission its keenness to have a meeting between the two defence ministers.

India yet to respond to the Chinese request

The Indian side is yet to respond to the Chinese request and there is no official confirmation yet. Sources had earlier said that a meeting with his Chinese counterpart Wei Fenghe during the three-day event was not on Singh’s schedule. India has urged China to sincerely engage with it to restore peace and tranquillity in border areas through complete disengagement and de-escalation.

Tensions flared in eastern Ladakh after China unsuccessfully attempted to occupy Indian territory in the Southern Bank of Pangong lake four days back when the two sides were engaged in diplomatic and military talks to resolve the festering border row. India occupied a number of strategic heights on the southern bank of Pangong lake and strengthened its presence in Finger 2 and Finger 3 areas in the region to thwart any Chinese actions. China has strongly objected to India’s move.

‘Talks only way forward for solution’
Meanwhile, India on Thursday said the border tension in Ladakh over the past four months is a “direct result” of Chinese actions aimed at effecting unilateral change in the status quo of the region and asserted that the only way forward to resolve it was through negotiations. At an online media briefing, MEA Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said the Chinese actions resulted in “violation” of the bilateral agreements and protocol which ensured peace and tranquillity in the border areas for close to three decades.

On the first day of his visit to Ladakh, Gen. Naravane visited a forward location and interacted with all top commanders tasked to oversee India’s combat readiness in the region.

India and Russia have finalised a major deal for manufacturing AK-47 203 rifles in India during Defence Minister Rajnath Singh’s ongoing visit here, the official Russian media reported on Thursday. The AK-47 203 is the latest and most advanced version of the AK-47 rifle, which will replace the Indian Small Arms System (INSAS) 5.56×45 mm assault rifle.

The Indian Army has a requirement for around 770,000 AK-47 203 rifles, of which 100,000 will be imported and the rest will be manufactured in India, Russia’s state-run Sputnik news agency said.