China's President Xi Jinping held a rare meeting with Chinese military commanders and troops involved in the ongoing stand-off with India in Eastern Ladakh, The Hindu reported.
Xi met with the top brass of the Xinjiang military district in the regional capital Urumqi, on Friday the last day of his four day visit to the region, his first in eight years.
Xi, who also heads the Central Military Commission (CMC), "fully affirmed the outstanding contributions made by troops stationed in Xinjiang to strengthen border defense and stabilize Xinjiang", The Hindu said.
Troops in Xinjiang, which borders Ladakh, have been involved in the China-India border stand-off which has gone on for more than two years since tensions began in April 2020.
The Hindu quoted observers as saying that Xi's meeting with Xinjiang military leaders underlined his backing for the PLA's strategy on the India border, which has in the past months seen, on the one hand, moves to beef up infrastructure in forward areas to enable permanent stationing of troops closer to the LAC - including through the construction of a bridge across Pangong Tso - and on the other, delaying disengagement through the slow-moving talks and a refusal to agree to the restoration of the status quo.
Photos in the official media showed that besides the top brass of the Western Theatre Command of the PLA, which oversees the 3,488-km-long LAC between India and China, Qi Fabao, the regimental commander of the PLA who was injured during the June 2020 clash at Galwan in eastern Ladakh was also present at the meeting. He was subsequently honored with "hero regiment commander for defending the border," Indian Express reported.
Xi's meeting with the Chinese troops in Xinjiang took place ahead of the 16th round of military talks between India and China held on Sunday.
16th round of China, India talks fail
India and China failed to make any breakthrough in resolving outstanding issues on the remaining friction points in eastern Ladakh at the 16th round of military talks on Sunday, but agreed to maintain dialogue to arrive at a mutually acceptable resolution at the earliest, Press Trust of India reported.
A day after the nearly 12-and-half-hour talks, the two sides, in a joint statement on Monday, reaffirmed that the resolution of the pending issues would help in the restoration of peace and tranquility along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the region and enable progress in bilateral relations.
At the talks, India strongly pressed for early disengagement of troops from all the remaining friction points in the region and demanded the restoration of the status quo ante as of April 2020 -- before the start of the military standoff, PTI quoted official sources as saying.
Ahead of the talks, official sources said there were some expectations of progress on completing the disengagement process at Patrolling Point-15 in the Hot Springs area.
The Indian delegation at the talks was led by Lt-General Anindya Sengupta, the commander of the Leh-based 14 Corps, while the Chinese team was headed by South Xinjiang Military District Chief Major General Yang Lin.
The 15th round of military dialogue took place on March 11 and it too failed to yield any significant outcome.
It may be pointed out that External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Bali held a one-hour meeting on the sidelines of a conclave of foreign ministers of the G20 nations on July 7 during which the situation in eastern Ladakh figured prominently.
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