Narendra Modi on Tuesday met with National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and the three service chiefs as a border tension with China in eastern Ladakh continued, media reports said.
The military leaders apprised Modi about the situation in eastern Ladakh, news agency PTI said quoting sources as officials maintained that the agenda of the scheduled meeting was military reforms and improving India’s combat prowess. There was no official comment or details available about the meeting.
The meeting came hours after the Indian Army briefed Defence Minister Rajnath Singh about the situation in Pangong Tso lake, Galwan Valley, Demchok, and Daulat Beg Oldi where Indian and Chinese troops have engaged in aggressive posturing for 20 days.
The situation in eastern Ladakh deteriorated on May 5, the Indian and Chinese army personnel clashed with iron rods, sticks, and even resorted to stone-pelting in the Pangong Tso lake area in which soldiers on both sides sustained injuries.
Then the two sides agreed to “disengage” following a meeting at the level of local commanders.
It is reported in that incident over 100 Indian and few Chinese soldiers were injured in the violence. The trigger for the incident was China’s strong objection to the road being laid by India in the Finger area in Pangong Tso lake.
The incident in Pangong Tso was followed by a similar incident in North Sikkim on May 9.
In a separate incident, nearly 150 Indian and Chinese military personnel were engaged in a face-off near Naku La Pass in the Sikkim sector on May 9. It is reported Indian Soldiers are injured but details on China side not made known
India last week said the Chinese military was hindering normal patrolling by its troops and asserted that India has always taken a very responsible approach towards border management.
At a media briefing, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava also strongly refuted China’s contention that the tension was triggered due to trespassing by Indian forces on the Chinese side.
India’s response came two days after China accused the Indian Army of trespassing into its territory, claiming that it was an “attempt to unilaterally change the status” of the LAC in Sikkim and Ladakh.
According to Chinese state media, Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday directed its armed forces to “comprehensively strengthen the training of troops and prepare for war”, “resolutely safeguard national sovereignty” and “safeguard the overall strategic stability of the country”.
The Chinese President’s directive comes at a time when its relations with India have strained after tensions along the Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh flared up.
The war cry also comes amid rising tensions with the US, belligerent speeches by Chinese politicians in reference with Taiwan, and renewed protests in Hong Kong.
The US-China military frictions were also on the rise with the US navy stepping its patrols in the disputed South China Sea as well as the Taiwan Straits.
Washington and Beijing are also engaged in a war of words over the origin of the coronavirus pandemic.
The US-China relations further exacerbated after the US President Donald Trump and other politicians blamed China for the pandemic.
Two days ago, Chinese diplomat Wang Yi hit back at the US and warned that the US is pushing relations with China to “the brink of a new Cold War”.
The Chinese social media platforms, according to the report, are abuzz with “unverified” photos and video that show Beijing’s second aircraft carrier leaving its shipyard for a sail on Monday. With these photos and videos in circulation, the Chinese President’s belligerent speech at such a time raises many questions.
“The move, if verified, will mark the aircraft carrier, the Shandong’s first known voyage in five months since being commissioned in December and later returning to the shipyard for maintenance,”
“Xi, who chairs China’s powerful Central Military Commission (CMC), made the comments at a meeting of the delegation of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and People’s Armed Police Force (PAPF) on the sidelines of the annual session of the National People’s Congress (NPC), the country’s parliament,” according to the Chinese media
It is to be noted On May 22, China, the second-largest military spender after the US, hiked its defence budget by 6.6 per cent to USD 179 billion, nearly three times that of India, the lowest increment in recent years amidst the massive disruption caused to the communist giant’s economy by the COVID-19 pandemic.