Galwan standoff: India snubs China, 'Rajnath won't meet Chinese counterpart' in Russia
New Delhi, June 23: In a clear snub to China, India has confirmed that there is no meeting between Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and his Chinese counterpart Wei Fenghe in Moscow.
The two ministers will be in Moscow together to attend June 24 Victory Day Parade of Russia.
This is in response to a Chinese media report said Wei and Singh are attending the event in Moscow and they are likely to meet there over the border tension in eastern Ladakh.
"Our Defence Minister would not be meeting the Chinese Defence Minister," Defence Ministry Spokesperson Bharat Bhushan Babu said when asked about the Chinese media report.
The defence minister's visit to Russia comes in the midst of an escalating border standoff between India and China, particularly after the killing of 20 Indian Army personnel by Chinese troops in eastern Ladakh's Galwan Valley on June 15.
Officials said Singh went ahead with the visit, notwithstanding the border row with China, due to India's decades-old military ties with Russia.
Russia has been one of India's key suppliers of arms and ammunition. A tri-service 75-member Indian military contingent has already reached Moscow to participate in the parade.
The Indian team will participate in the parade alongside armed forces personnel from at least 11 countries including China. "The visit of the defence minister will strengthen the longstanding special and privileged strategic partnership between India and Russia," the defence ministry said on Saturday.
"The Indian participation in the victory day parade will be a mark of tribute to the great sacrifices made by Russia and other nations in the Second World War in which Indian soldiers also participated and made supreme sacrifice," it said.