New Delhi : Negotiations between Defense Minister Rajnath Singh and China’s Defense Minister Wei Fenghe have come to an end amid heightened tension on the border in eastern Ladakh. The talks lasted for 2 hours and 20 minutes. Talks began at 9:30 pm (Indian time) in a hotel in Moscow, the capital of Russia. The Indian delegation also included Defense Secretary Ajay Kumar and India’s Ambassador to Russia DB Venkatesh Verma.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh meeting the Chinese Defence Minister, General Fenghe in Moscow: Office of the Defence Minister pic.twitter.com/ldX5slo5Jw
— ANI (@ANI) September 4, 2020
According to government sources, the focal point of the lengthy talks between Rajnath and the Chinese defense minister later remained focused on finding a middle ground to ease tensions in eastern Ladakh. Defense Minister Rajnath Singh explicitly asked his Chinese counterpart General Wei Fenghe to restore the status quo in eastern Ladakh. He clearly said that China will have to retreat the army for peace.
This was the first high-level face-to-face meeting on both sides since the border tension in eastern Ladakh in May. Earlier, Foreign Minister S Jaishankar and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval had a telephone conversation with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to resolve the deadlock.
Rajnath Singh’s office tweeted, “The meeting between Raksha Mantri Shri @rajnathsingh and Chinese Defence Minister, General Wei Fenghe in Moscow is over. The meeting lasted for 2 hours and 20 minutes.”
The meeting between Raksha Mantri Shri @rajnathsingh and Chinese Defence Minister, General Wei Fenghe in Moscow is over. The meeting lasted for 2 hours and 20 minutes.
— रक्षा मंत्री कार्यालय/ RMO India (@DefenceMinIndia) September 4, 2020
According to sources, the Indian delegation strongly objected to the Chinese army’s new efforts to change the status quo along the south bank of Pangong Lake and insisted on resolving the deadlock through talks.
“The focus of the conversation between the two defense ministers was on ways to resolve the long-standing border impasse,” a source said.
This was the first level meeting between the two sides after the border dispute erupted in eastern Ladakh in early May. Foreign Minister S Jaishankar had previously spoken to his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on the border deadlock. Rajnath Singh and Wei are in Moscow to participate in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) defence ministers meeting. The SCO meeting was held during the day.