Highlights

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping meets troops involved in 2020 Galwan standoff
  • Chinese President met the soldiers during a visit to Xinjiang
  • Xi praised their “outstanding contributions” to the border defence

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Chinese President Xi Jinping meets troops connected with Ladakh standoff

Twenty Indian soldiers were killed in the fierce combat in Galwan Valley on June 15 in 2020, an incident that marked the most serious military conflict between the two sides.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, who made a rare visit this week to the restive Xinjiang region which borders Ladakh, met the troops and officers stationed there and praised their “outstanding contributions” to the border defence and stabilisation of the volatile province.

Xi, who heads the Central Military Commission (CMC), the overall high command of the Chinese military, met the representatives of the officers and soldiers stationed in Xinjiang in the provincial capital Urumqi on Friday.

Xi, who visited the border province from July 12 to 15 where his government is widely accused of oppressing predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities, extended greetings to all the commanders and fighters of the troops stationed in the province and fully affirmed the "outstanding contributions" made by the troops stationed in the region, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

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 honoured with “hero regiment commander for defending the border." While full details of his address were not released, official media reports said that President Xi emphasised that it is necessary to implement the ruling Communist Party's idea of strengthening the Army in the new era, implement the military strategic policy of the new era, and actively contribute to promoting social stability and long-term stability in Xinjiang.

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Xi's meeting with the troops is significant as the Xinjiang Military Command of the People’s Liberation Amy (PLA) oversees the India-China border in the Ladakh region amidst a military standoff between the two sides since May 2020.

India has been pressing for quick disengagement of troops from all the remaining friction points in eastern Ladakh, insisting that peace and tranquillity along the border are prerequisites for progress in overall bilateral ties.

Twenty Indian soldiers were killed in the fierce combat in Galwan Valley on June 15 in 2020, an incident that marked the most serious military conflict between the two sides. After prolonged delay, China acknowledged four casualties on its side.

At the fresh round of talks on Sunday, the Indian side is expected to press for disengagement of troops as soon as possible in all the remaining friction points besides seeking resolution of issues in Depsang Bulge and Demchok.

As a result of a series of military and diplomatic talks, the two sides have completed the disengagement process last year in the north and south banks of the Pangong lake and in the Gogra area.

Each side currently has around 50,000 to 60,000 troops along the LAC in the sensitive mountainous sector.

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