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Parrikar meets Rajnath after Ladakh face-off


Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Sunday met Home Minister Rajnath Singh, a day after a face-off between Indian and Chinese troops was reported along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh.

While there was no official information about the subject of the meeting, sources said the two ministers are believed to have discussed the situation along the LAC.

Tension erupted between Indian and Chinese troops near Burtse in northern Ladakh as the Chinese were reportedly building a watch tower close to the border patrolling line.

Indian troops objected to the construction, which was brushed off by the Chinese side, after which Indian soldiers called for additional reinforcements.

The home minister, meanwhile, called off a visit to Ladakh scheduled for Tuesday. Officials said it was for a meeting of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

A home ministry spokesperson said the visit was called off as there was an important meeting of the BJP on the Bihar assembly elections.

Rajnath Singh is now likely to visit Ladakh later this month.

Meanwhile, a cultural programme — “Learn China, starting from Shaanxi” — to be organised by the Chinese embassy on Monday was also called off.

The embassy said it was cancelled due to “some reasons such as flights, delegation cannot arrive New Delhi on time tomorrow (Monday)”.

Burste is close to Daulat Beg Oldie in the Depsang plain. This is the area that had had witnessed a 21-day-long standoff between troops of both sides in 2013.

Daulat Beg Oldie is a historic camp site and the current military base located on an ancient trade route connecting Ladakh to Uyghuristan, and both Indian and China have their claim on the area.

It also has a helipad and gravel air strip, critical for Indian armed forces.


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