By FnF Correspondent | PUBLISHED: 27, Apr 2023, 20:49 pm IST | UPDATED: 27, Apr 2023, 20:50 pm IST
New Delhi: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday met his Chinese counterpart Li Shangfu in New Delhi and held 'frank' discussions about the developments in the India-China border areas as well as bilateral relations. The senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader categorically conveyed that the development of relations between India and China is premised on the prevalence of peace and tranquillity at the borders, the Ministry of Defence said in an official statement. Singh also said that all issues at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) need to be resolved in accordance with existing bilateral agreements and commitments.
According to the official statement, Rajnath Singh told Li Shangfu that violation of existing agreements has 'eroded the entire basis of bilateral relations' and that the disengagement at the border will logically be followed with de-escalation.
The senior Chinese official is in Delhi to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Defence Ministers' Meeting on April 28.
It is notable that this is the first visit by a Chinese defence minister to India since the violent clashes between the Indian and Chinese armies along the LAC in Ladakh's Galwan Valley in 2020.
Earlier on Sunday, India and China held the 18th round of Corps Commander Level talks at the Chushul-Moldo border meeting point on the Chinese side.
"The two sides had a frank and in-depth discussion on the resolution of the relevant issues along the LAC in the Western Sector so as to restore peace and tranquillity in the border areas, which will enable progress in bilateral relations," India's Ministry of External Affairs said in an official statement.
In line with the guidance provided by the State Leaders and further to the meeting between the two Foreign Ministers in March 2023, they had an exchange of views in an open and candid manner, the statement added.
"In the interim, the two sides agreed to maintain the security and stability on the ground in the Western Sector. The two sides agreed to stay in close contact and maintain dialogue through military and diplomatic channels and work out a mutually acceptable resolution of the remaining issues at the earliest," the statement read.
Chinese Defence Minister Li Shangfu, Russia's Sergei Shoigu, and their counterparts from the other member countries of the grouping, except Pakistan's Khawaja Asif, are set to attend the key SCO meeting in Delhi.
In a statement, India's defence ministry said counter-terror cooperation and matters concerning regional peace and security will figure prominently at the SCO defence ministerial conclave.
It said the theme of India's presidency of the grouping in 2023 is "Secure SCO".
The SCO meeting will be chaired by Rajnath Singh.
"The defence ministers will discuss amongst other issues concerning regional peace and security, counter-terrorism efforts within the SCO and an effective multilateralism," the ministry said.
It said India attaches special importance to the SCO in promoting multilateral, political, security, economic and people-to-people interactions in the region.
The SCO pursues its policy based on the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity of nations, non-interference in internal affairs, equality of all member states and mutual understanding and respect for opinions of each of them," it added.
The SCO was founded at a summit in Shanghai in 2001 by the presidents of Russia, China, the Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Over the years, it has emerged as one of the largest trans-regional international organisations. India and Pakistan became permanent members in 2017.