China, India foreign ministers meet amid border tensions

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Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, India’s foreign minister, at the Munich Security Conference in Munich on Feb. 14, 2020. MUST CREDIT: Bloomberg photo by Michaela Handrek-Rehle.

Indian foreign minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar met his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Moscow Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020, for the first time since deadly tensions between the two nations erupted in May along their disputed Himalayan border.

The two met on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit organized by Russia, India’s Ministry of External Affairs said.

India and China have been increasing their troop strength along the 3,488 kilometer (2,162 mile) border known as the Line of Actual Control since May. The military standoff, in which gun shots were fired this week for the first time since 1975, remains unresolved despite multiple rounds of negotiations between military commanders and diplomats and two phone calls between Wang and Jaishankar.

The latest skirmishes came just days after Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh and his Chinese counterpart, General Wei Fenghe, agreed to ease tensions after “frank and in-depth discussions” in Moscow.

It’s led to deteriorating economic ties, with India limiting Chinese investments, tightening scrutiny on visas and moving to keep Huawei Technologies Co. out of 5G networks. India last Wednesday banned 118 Chinese apps including Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s popular game PUBG Mobile Lite and payments service Alipay, following up on its June ban of several applications including ByteDance Ltd.’s viral short-video service TikTok.

Differences worsened after India, in its first offensive move since the conflict began, moved thousands of soldiers to mountain peaks to claim vantage points along the south bank of Pangong Tso — a glacial lake roughly the size of Singapore — to counter what it views as an intrusion by Chinese forces.

The decision to capture high ground that was previously unoccupied revived tensions that had cooled since June when 20 Indian soldiers and an unknown number of Chinese troops were killed in brutal hand-to-hand combat.

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