Rajnath Singh to not meet Chinese counterpart Wei Fenghe in Moscow

Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will not be meeting his Chinese counterpart Wei Fenghe in Moscow on the sidelines of 75th Victoria Parade, as suggested by some Chinese propaganda websites.

The development comes after Chinese media reported that Singh will meet his Chinese counterpart amid the border tensions between New Delhi and Beijing following the last week’s violent face-off at Ladakh’s Galwan Valley, where 20 Indian troops lost their lives.

Rajnath

The Chinese Defence Minister is also expected to attend the parade on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, Rajnath Singh termed his visit to the Russian capital a sign of ‘special friendship’ between New Delhi and Moscow. “My visit to Moscow is the first foreign visit from India of an official delegation during the COVID pandemic. This is a sign of our special friendship. Despite all the difficulties of the pandemic, our bilateral relations are keeping good contacts at the various levels,” he said.

A 75-member Indian military contingent will be participating in the Victory Parade alongside defence personnel from at least 11 nations, including China.

“It is a great honor that an Indian Military contingent will be marching in the Red Square tomorrow. Indian soldiers participated in the war effort in the millions and suffered immense causalities. Many of them were part of the war efforts to provide assistance to the Soviet Army,” Rajnath Singh had said.

Meanwhile, the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs (WMCC) is likely to hold a virtual meet on Wednesday to discuss border tensions between the two countries.

The WMCC talks are headed by joint secretary-level officials from both sides.

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WMCC was established in 2012 as an institutional mechanism for consultation and coordination for the maintenance of peace and tranquillity in the India-China border areas, as well as to exchange views on strengthening communication and cooperation, including between their border security personnel.

India and China held Corps Commander-level talks on Monday in which both sides reached a mutual consensus to disengage in the Eastern Ladakh sector.

Indian Army 14 Corps Commander Lt Gen Harinder Singh and his Chinese counterpart held the meeting that lasted about 11 hours at the Border Personnel Meeting Point at Moldo to reduce the tensions between the two countries.

The face-off happened on June 15 as a result of an attempt by China to unilaterally change the status quo during de-escalation in eastern Ladakh. India has said that the situation could have been avoided if the agreement at the higher level been scrupulously followed by the Chinese side.

Indian intercepts have revealed that the Chinese side suffered 43 casualties including dead and seriously injured. Singh is currently on a three-day visit to Moscow to attend the 75th Victory Day Parade. The visit comes amid heightened tensions between India and China following the Ladakh standoff.