On Thursday, the foreign ministers of Russia, India and China (RIC) will hold a luncheon meeting on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) meeting in Moscow.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar is in Moscow on a four-day visit to attend the meeting of foreign ministers of the SCO of which both India and China are members. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is the host of the meeting of SCO foreign ministers being held in the Russian capital from Wednesday to Thursday.
The focus of the bilateral talks between Jaishankar and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi are expected to be on finding a breakthrough in cooling down temperatures in eastern Ladakh, days after the two countries accused each other of firing in the air at the latest flashpoint in the first instance of bullets being used along the LAC after a gap of 45 years.
The Indian Army on Tuesday said Chinese troops attempted to close in on an Indian position near the southern bank of Pangong lake on the evening of September 7 and fired shots in the air.
The Army said this in a statement after the PLA late on Monday night alleged that Indian troops crossed the LAC and "outrageously fired" warning shots near the Pangong lake.
A meeting between Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and his Chinese counterpart Gen. Wei Fenghe on the margins of another SCO meet in Moscow last Friday apparently did not yield any tangible outcome.
Government sources said a Brigade commander-level interaction took place between Indian and Chinese armies at a forward location along the LAC with an aim to check further escalation of tension and find ways to focus on implementing laid down protocols in management of the border.
However, the situation in the region remained "tense" with both sides maintaining aggressive posturing following the fresh face-off on Monday evening, the sources said.
The latest incident was considered serious as the previous instance of shots being fired at the de-facto border was in 1975.
Provisions of an agreement of 1996 and another inked in 2005 mandate the two sides not to use firearms during any confrontation.
The sources had said that Chinese troops carried rods, spears, clubs and pole weapons called 'Guandao' in aggressively trying to close in on an Indian position on Monday evening.
Tensions escalated manifold along the LAC in eastern Ladakh after the Galwan Valley clashes in which 20 Indian Army personnel were killed. The Chinese side also suffered casualties but it is yet to give out the details. According to an American intelligence report, the number of casualties on the Chinese side was 35.
The border situation deteriorated again after China unsuccessfully attempted to occupy Indian territory in the southern bank of Pangong lake on the intervening night of August 29 and 30.
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. However, India has maintained that the heights are on its side of the LAC.
The PLA has been eyeing to capture the strategic heights in the last three-four days, the government sources said, adding the Chinese troops also damaged an iron fence on Monday evening which was put up by Indian troops in the area.
(With PTI Inouts)
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