New Delhi: Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, who was scheduled to visit the disputed Ladakh border to take stock of India’s preparedness on Friday, has now cancelled his trip. The visit will be “rescheduled”, according to reports from ministry officials. Also Read - Bubonic Plague Kills Another Man in Mongolia, 70 Others Who Came in Contact to be Tested
It is not clear as to why the defence minister made a sudden change of plans. However, speculations are that India wants to ‘wait and watch’ if China commits to the disengagement agreement between military personnel on both sides. Also Read - Separated by Religion, United by Faith: This Pic of Indian Army Soldiers Praying Is Making People Proud
Notably, India and China have already held three rounds of Corps Commander-level meetings on June 6, June 22 and June 30, but the talks have so far been “inconclusive”. Also Read - Why Some 'Made in India' Items Are Among 101 Weapons Embargoed by MoD? Here's The Clarification
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh’s scheduled visit to Ladakh’s Galwan Valley, where the border tension between India and China escalated into a violent clash last month, would have been a clear nod and morale boost by the central government to be prepared for an escalation.
However, in the third Corps Commander-level meeting on Tuesday, the Indian Army had released a caution stating that both sides – India and China – had emphasised on “the need for an expeditious, phased and stepwise de-escalation as a priority”.
“The discussions reflected the commitment of both sides to reduce tensions along the LAC. The process of disengagement is complex and in such a context, speculative and unsubstantiated reports need to be avoided,” the statement read.
The Indian delegation conveyed concerns over China’s “new claim lines” in the region and demanded the restoration of status quo ante as well as immediate withdrawal of Chinese troops from Galwan Valley, Pangong Tso and a number of other areas.
A total of 20 Indian soldiers were killed in a violent face-off at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Galwan Valley, Ladakh on June 15. Reportedly, as many as 45 Chinese soldiers were also gunned down on the same day, although China has rubbished the idea as of now.