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Deadlock in Ladakh tops agenda of bilateral talks

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Persistent border standoffs in Ladakh over the past two years despite several rounds of military and diplomatic level talks will figure prominently in a likely bilateral meeting between External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Tashkent on July 28. 29.

The two leaders will be there to attend the meeting of the Shanghai Council of Foreign Ministers in Samarkand.

Foreign ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) grouping will meet there at the invitation of Acting Foreign Minister of the Republic of Uzbekistan Vladimir Norov.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto will also participate in the deliberations. However, there is no confirmation on the likelihood of talks between him and Jaishankar. He is expected to have a bilateral meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on the sidelines of the SCO conclave alongside several other ministers.

Giving details on the timing of Jaishankar, the Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday that the meeting will discuss preparations for the next meeting of the Council of Heads of State on September 15-16, 2022 in Samarkand. They will review ongoing cooperation in expanding the SCO Organization and exchange ideas on regional and global developments of common interest. Next month’s heads of state meeting could see Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jingping hold talks on the sidelines of the conclave, sources said.

Regarding the likely talks between Jaishankar and Wang Yi, they said the two leaders would review the progress made in efforts to resolve the ongoing confrontations at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh. They will also discuss takeaways from the corps commander level talks between India and China earlier this month. It was the 16th round of military-level talks since unrest broke out at the LAC in May 2020.

This will be the second face-to-face meeting between Jaishankar and Wang Yi in the past few months. He was the first Chinese minister to visit India in March since the clashes in 2020. The two ministers then held detailed discussions on finding ways to expedite the process of disengaging from remaining sticking points in the LAC .

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is a permanent international intergovernmental organization whose creation was announced on June 15, 2001 in Shanghai (China) by the Republic of Kazakhstan, the People’s Republic of China, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Federation of Russia, the Republic of Tajikistan, and the Republic of Uzbekistan.

It was preceded by the Shanghai Five mechanism.

In terms of geographic scope and population, the SCO is the largest regional organization in the world, covering approximately 60% of Eurasia’s land area, 40% of the world’s population, and over 30% of global GDP.