July 11, 2020 1:30:41 am
As India and China move to the next round of discussions to find a resolution to the standoff which is now in its tenth week, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday held a detailed briefing with the military top brass.
Forces on the ground have stepped back at three friction points—Patrolling Point 14 (PP14) in Galwan Valley, PP15 in Hot Springs sector and PP17A in Gogra Post sector.
The meeting on Friday was attended by Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, Army Chief General M M Naravane, Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh, and chief of the Air Force Air Chief Marshal R K S Bhadauria. The military leadership apprised Singh of the latest situation along the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh.
Singh has been in constant touch with the military leaders, especially the Army Chief, throughout the standoff. Disengagement at PP14, PP15, PP17A and the north bank of Pangong Tso had started based on the June 30 discussions between Lt General Harinder Singh, Commander of XIV Corps without his Chinese counterpart Major General Liu Lin, South Xinjiang Military Region Commander.
The Corps Commanders are likely to meet for their fourth round of talks next week, in which de-escalation from the depth areas and further disengagement will be discussed.
The Defence Minister also spoke with his counterparts in the US and South Korea, during which the LAC situation was discussed.
The sources said Singh had a telephonic conversation with US Secretary of Defense Mark T Esper on Friday evening, which was requested by Esper. Both leaders have been in regular touch recently, and have “spoken several times on bilateral defence cooperation and issues of mutual interest” a source said, adding that Friday’s conversation “was in continuation of this exchange”.
Singh also had a phone call with South Korea’s Minister of National Defense Jeong Kyeong-Doo. Apart from the views on “regional developments of shared security interests”, the defence ministers spoke about Covid-19.
The two leaders “reviewed the progress on various bilateral defence cooperation initiatives and expressed commitment to further promote defence cooperation engagements between the Armed Forces” and also agreed to “take forward the agreements in the field of defence industry and defence technology cooperation”, the government said in a statement.
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