Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday called on members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation to adopt an approach of “non-aggression” and respect others countries’ interest to maintain peace in the region, PTI reported. He made the remark during his address at a meeting of the alliance in Moscow, ahead of his talks with Chinese Defence Minister Wei Fenghe amid rising India-China tensions.
In a veiled message to China, Singh said that the experience of the Second World War showed the world that “folies of aggression” of one state on the another brings “destruction” to all.
“Peaceful stable and secure region of SCO [Shanghai Cooperation Organisation] member states, which is home to over 40% of the global population, demands a climate of trust and cooperation, non-aggression, respect for international rules and norms, sensitivity to each other’s interest and peaceful resolution of differences,” Singh was quoted as saying by PTI.
Singh and his Chinese counterpart met for more than two hours on Friday, the Ministry of Defence said. Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar and Indian Ambassador to Russia DB Venkatesh Varma were also part of the delegation which met China.
Unidentified officials told PTI that the Indian delegation called for the restoration of status quo ante at all points of conflict with China in Ladakh. India also opposed China’s attempts to change the status quo at Pangong lake and said that the standoff must be resolved through bilateral talks.
Hours before the meeting Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla had said that India and China had not been locked in such an unprecedented situation since the war of 1962, The Indian Express reported. “We have never had the sort of situation since 1962… we have lost, for the first time, lives of soldiers, which has not happened in the last 40 years,” he said during a seminar. “It is an unprecedented situation.”
Shringla added that India will not compromise on its territorial integrity and sovereignty but was open to finding a solution to the tensions through talks with China.
Tensions between India and China have flared up again, over two months after the troops of both the countries clashed on the border on June 15, in Ladakh. Twenty Indian soldiers lost their lives and 76 were injured. An unidentified number of Chinese soldiers also died in the clash.
On September 1, India had said that China had once again engaged in provocative military maneuvers along the Line of Actual Control. The new escalation in border tensions came a day after the Indian Army said its soldiers had thwarted similar the movement of the Chinese military in the South Bank area of Pangong Lake in Ladakh.
Indian Army chief Manoj Mukund Naravane had said on Friday that the situation along the Line of Actual Control was “slightly tense” and precautionary measures were taken to increase security.
On Thursday, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar suggested that a solution for the continuing tensions along the Line of Actual Control with China has to be found through diplomacy. The foreign minister said it was imperative for both the countries to reach an “accommodation” not just for themselves, but the world as well.