Chinese Defence Minister Wei Fenghe has blamed India entirely for the Ladakh standoff and the subsequent tensions. In his meeting with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization on Friday, Wei is said to have asked Singh to defuse tension.
In the first meeting between the two ministers since the Ladakh standoff began four months ago, Wei said China cannot lose one inch of territory and its forces were determined, capable and confident of safeguarding its interests. He also hoped candid dialogue between the two countries would play the important role in defusing tensions, according to a report in the South China Morning Post.
The report said Wei communicated that both sides should meet halfway to maintain harmonious relations. The Chinese minister called on India not to add to the tension with negative publicity.
The Indian Defence Ministry responded to the Chinese minister’s comments, saying Beijing’s amassing of forces and attempts to change the status quo violated bilateral agreements, a reference to which was made by Wei.
In the meeting which lasted over two hours, Singh had made a strong pitch for the status quo at all friction points in eastern Ladakh. The meeting was requested by Wei after heightened tension between the two countries triggered by China’s fresh attempts to occupy Indian territory along the southern bank of the Pangong lake.
Earlier, Singh, in his address, said peace and security in the region demanded a climate of trust, non-aggression, peaceful resolution of differences and respect for international rules. Yesterday, Army chief General MM Naravane said the situation along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) was tense but maintained that the issue could be resolved through talks.
India’s External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar is due to meet the Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi at the SCO next Thursday. The two were part of a video conference between BRICS ministers on Friday.