New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday met his Chinese counterpart General Wei Fenghe on the sidelines of a ministerial meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in Moscow, Russia. The meeting, which took place at Hotel Metropol in Moscow, came at a time when Indian and Chinese soldiers are engaged in a tense standoff along the LAC in eastern Ladakh.

It is being said that the main reason behind the meeting is the ongoing border dispute in Ladakh which could not be resolved despite several military-level talks. This is also the first meeting between the political leadership of both countries since the start of the face-off in May.

In an apparent reference to China, Rajnath Singh had earlier in the day said that trust, non-aggression, peaceful resolution of differences are key to maintaining peace and tranquillity in the region.

"Peaceful stable and secure region of SCO member states, which is home to over 40 per cent of the global population, demands a climate of trust and cooperation, non-aggression, respect for international rules and norms, sensitivity to each other's interest and peaceful resolution of differences," he said while speaking at the ministerial meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation or SCO in Moscow, where his Chinese counterpart was also in attendance.

The troops of both India and China have been engaged in a standoff along the LAC in Ladakh since May this year. The standoff took an ugly turn after a violent face-off between the soldiers of both the Asian superpowers in Galwan Valley area. At least 20 Indian soldiers were killed in the Galwan Valley clashes, while over 40 Chinese soldiers were believed to have died or injured. Following the clashes, both sides called in additional troops and came on the brink of a full-blown military conflict.

However, things calmed a bit and both sides pulled back their troops after extensive talks between National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Chinese Foreign Minister and State Councilor Wang Yi. Several rounds of military-level talks were held to complete the disengagement process reached between the countries.

The talks were again derailed five days ago when China, in a failed attempt, tried to occupy Indian territory in the southern bank of Pangong Tso lake. Now, the situation has again become tense and critical along the Line of Control in Ladakh, prompting the political leadership of both sides to sit across the tables and find a peaceful resolution of the dispute through bilateral talks.

Posted By: Shashikant Sharma