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PLA actions at LAC erode the entire basis of bilateral relations, Rajnath to Chinese Def Min

Li's visit to India is the first by a Chinese defence minister after the eastern Ladakh border standoff began three years ago
alyan Ray
Last Updated : 27 April 2023, 17:31 IST
Last Updated : 27 April 2023, 17:31 IST
Last Updated : 27 April 2023, 17:31 IST
Last Updated : 27 April 2023, 17:31 IST

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India on Monday sternly told China that the communist country’s actions along the disputed boundary between the two nations “eroded the entire basis of bilateral relations” and all issues at the Line of Actual Control needed to be resolved in accordance with existing agreements and commitments made by the two sides in the past.

“Violation of existing agreements has eroded the entire basis of bilateral relations. All issues at the LAC need to be resolved in accordance with existing bilateral agreements and commitments,” Defence Minister Rajnath Singh told his Chinese counterpart General Li Shangfu here.

Gen Li, China’s State Councillor and Minister of National Defence is in Delhi to participate in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Defence Ministers’ Meeting. The talk between Singh and Gen Li happened ahead of the multilateral meeting of the regional group on Friday.

This is the second bilateral discussion between the defence ministers of the two neighbouring Asian nations since April-May 2020 when tension flared up in eastern Ladakh after Indian Army troops thwarted People’s Liberation Army’s moves to change the status quo at the LAC leading to a prolonged stand-off between the two armies and deployment of thousands of men by New Delhi and Beijing on both sides of the border.

Singh categorically conveyed to Gen Li that development of relations between India and China was premised on prevalence of peace and tranquillity at the borders. He also made it clear that disengagement at the border would logically be followed with de-escalation, a defence ministry spokesperson said in a statement.

The spokesperson said two ministers had frank discussions about the developments in the India-China border areas as well as bilateral relations.

Chief of Defence Staff General Anil Chauhan, Defence Secretary Giridhar Aramane and other senior officials were part of the delegation that met the Chinese contingent.

The crucial meeting involving the ministers took place days after the 18th round of negotiations between top military commanders in eastern Ladakh. The senior officials debated for hours on mutual withdrawal of troops from flashpoints like Depsang plains and Demchock but failed to make a breakthrough.

Unlike the previous two rounds, none of the sides issued any statement after the 18th round of negotiations that took place at Chushul-Moldo border meeting point on the Chinese side of the LAC in eastern Ladakh.

China continues to have its PLA troops deployed in Depsang well inside Indian territory and block the Indian Army’s access to Patrolling Points 10, 11, 12, 12A and 13 in eastern Ladakh. A face-off is also continuing near Charding-Ninglung Nala in the south of Demchok.

Negotiations between the two sides have so far resulted in mutual withdrawal of frontline troops from four places along the LAC in eastern Ladakh – Galwan Valley, northern and southern banks of Pangong Tso, Gogra Post and Hot Springs.

But each disengagement deal involved creation of a “no patrol zone”, raising eyebrows in New Delhi on whether India can reclaim those areas and patrol the areas that the Indian Army troops used to visit before April 2020.

Singh also held bilateral discussions with defence ministers of Iran, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan.

The SCO membership includes Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan besides India. Apart from the member states, two observer countries Belarus and Iran will also be participating in the SCO meeting.

The ministers will discuss matters concerning regional peace and security, counter terrorism efforts within SCO and effective multilateralism.

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Published 27 April 2023, 16:12 IST

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