Rajnath meets Chinese Defence Minister; categorically conveys India's position on recent developments

Rajnath meets Chinese Defence Minister categorically conveys India's position on recent developments

Rajnath meets Chinese Defence Minister categorically conveys India's position on recent developments

According to reports, Singh will make a brief stopover in Tehran tonight and is scheduled to have a bilateral meeting with his Iranian counterpart.

In the highest level face-to-face political contact between India and China since tensions first flared along the border in May, defence ministers Rajnath Singh of India and General Wei Fenghe of China met late on Friday on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation meeting in Moscow.

Rajnath Singh had gone to Moscow to participate in a joint meeting of Defence Ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO), and Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries.

Earlier on Friday, in his address at the SCO meet, Singh said for "peace and security in Central and South Asia, a climate of trust, non-aggression, respect for global rules and peaceful resolution of differences, were prerequisites".

The meeting between two defence ministers assumes significance in the backdrop of a tensed situation which escalated after the Indian and Chinese troops engaged in a bitter standoff in multiple places in eastern Ladakh. The body comprises China, India, Pakistan, Russia, Kazakhstan, Krgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Earlier foreign minister of both countries-External affairs minister S Jaishankar and FM Wang Yi and special representatives on border issues-NSA Doval and FM Wang Yi had telephonic chat and virtual meet.

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Indian and Chinese troops are engaged in a tense border row in eastern Ladakh for almost four months now.

Both sides have pledged to safeguard their territory but also try to end the standoff, which has dramatically changed the India-China relationship. China also suffered casualties but has been mum on the number.

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. The attempts were made even as the two nations were engaged in diplomatic and military talks to resolve the border row.

Separate from Mr Singh's message, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said there will be no compromise on India's sovereignty and territorial integrity, and asserted it can not be "business as usual" in bilateral ties unless there is peace and tranquillity in the border areas.

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