Rajnath Singh may meet Chinese counterpart ahead of military talks

By Times Of India

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday evening reached Tajikistan on a three-day trip to attend a conclave of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), during which he may also meet with his Chinese counterpart General Wei Fenghe at Dushanbe.

Sources said though a bilateral meeting between the two defence ministers has “not yet been scheduled”, India is not averse to a discussion if China wants it. “A bilateral meeting with China is not ruled out,” said a source.

“Singh, as it is, will stress the need for a peaceful settlement of all issues through dialogue in the region, including in war-ravaged Afghanistan, during his address at the SCO defence ministers’ meet on Wednesday,” he added. On July 14, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had also held an hour-long meeting with his counterpart Wang Yi on the sidelines of another SCO meet at Dushanbe.

This comes ahead of the 12th round of corps commander-level talks between India and China, which will now be held “within the next few days” after a long gap since the last round on April 9, in another bid to de-escalate the military confrontation in eastern Ladakh since April-May last year.

At the forthcoming military talks, the completion of the stalled troop disengagement at Gogra and Hot Springs is likely to be taken forward, with sources saying it was “a low-hanging fruit” for the two countries.

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