Rajnath leaves for Dushanbe to attend SCO defence ministers meet1 min read . Updated: 27 Jul 2021, 07:37 PM IST
- Singh is looking to convey a message of the peaceful settlement of regional issues during his trip
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday left for Dushanbe for the annual meeting of the Defence Ministers of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) where he will be face to face with his Chinese counterpart Wei Fenghe.
A person familiar with the matter said that no meeting with the Chinese defence minister was fixed as yet but did not rule out the possibility of a meeting.
Singh is looking to convey a message of the peaceful settlement of regional issues during his trip. This comes amid unrest in Afghanistan and tensions between India and China long the borders in Ladakh. Singh’s address at the SCO meet will be on Wednesday.
Singh, who left on Tuesday afternoon, will return on Friday.
Last week, Indian foreign minister S. Jaishankar was in Dushanbe for the SCO Foreign Ministers’ meeting where he met his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on the sidelines.
The SCO member states are expected to focus on strengthening defence cooperation and Afghanistan is an area that will come up for discussion. According to people familiar with the matter, Afghanistan was the main theme of discussion at the SCO foreign ministers’ meet as well last week given the Taliban’s resurgence and sweep through the rural areas.
Singh’s visit to the SCO meet comes at a time when both India and China are looking holding another round of senior military commander level talks to defuse tensions that have lasted more than 15 months.
Singh had last met his Chinese counterpart Wei in September 2020 and discussed the border stand-off. Both sides had then decided not to further escalate tensions. In February, both sides disengaged from the northern and southern banks of Pangong Tso lake. But tensions are still rife in other areas along the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh.
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