By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: September 10, 2020 10:38:22 pm
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and China’s Wang Yi at the RIC Summit (Source: Twitter/SJaishankar)
In a bid to dial down tensions on the Line of Actual Control, Foreign Minister S Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi are holding talks in Moscow on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit.
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 of the RIC (Russia-India-China) grouping that was hosted by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov earlier in the day. This was the second meeting of Foreign Ministers of the RIC since the LAC standoff began early May.
“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,” Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said before the meeting.
At the luncheon meeting, Jaishankar and Wang exchanged views on the strengthening of trilateral cooperation and “topical issues of international and regional importance, in the spirit of mutual understanding, friendship and trust”. As per the RIC joint statement, “The ministers agreed that the three countries, with strong scientific and industrial capacities, could make a significant contribution towards mitigating the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Tensions have surged in Ladakh where 5000-7000 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.
Attended the RIC Foreign Ministers Meeting hosted by FM Lavrov in Moscow. Thank him for his warm hospitality. India takes on the Chair of the RIC process. pic.twitter.com/fNAFI0aaCL
— Dr. S. Jaishankar (@DrSJaishankar) September 10, 2020
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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