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Amid tension on LAC, Rajnath holds talks with Chinese counterpart in Moscow

Amid heightened border tension in eastern Ladakh, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday held talks in Moscow with his Chinese counterpart Wei Fenghe.

Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar and Indian Ambassador to Russia DB Venkatesh Varma are part of the Indian delegation at the talks that began at around 9:30 PM (IST) at a prominent hotel in the Russian capital.

It is the first highest-level face-to-face meeting between the two sides after the border row escalated in eastern Ladakh in early May. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has previously held telephonic talks with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on the border standoff.

Singh and Wei are in Moscow to attend a meeting of the Defence Ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) which took place earlier in the day.

Indian government sources said the meeting has been requested by the Chinese Defence Minister.

The Indian and Chinese troops are engaged in a bitter standoff in multiple places along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh.

Tensions flared up in the region again after China unsuccessfully attempted to occupy Indian territory in the southern bank of Pangong lake five days ago when the two sides were engaged in diplomatic and military talks to resolve the prolonged border row.

India occupied a number of strategic heights on the southern bank of Pangong lake and strengthened its presence in Finger 2 and Finger 3 areas in the region to thwart any Chinese actions. China has strongly objected to India’s move. India has, however, maintained that the heights are on its side of the LAC.

India has also rushed in additional troops and weapons to the sensitive region following China’s transgression attempts.

Army Chief Gen MM Naravane is currently on a two-day visit to Ladakh to carry out a comprehensive review of the security situation in the region in view of the Chinese attempts.