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LAC standoff: Jaishankar to travel to Moscow; may meet Chinese counterpart

S Jaishankar PTI

New Delhi:Despite tensions with China on the border in eastern Ladakh, the Ministry of External Affairs on Tuesday formally confirmed External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar’s visit to Moscow to participate in the meeting of Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) to be held on September 9 and 10. The MEA said Jaishankar will also attend bilaterals on the sidelines of the meeting–on the lines of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh’s bilaterals when he had attended a Ministerial under the same format last week. Though Rajnath Singh had a 90-minute bilateral with his Chinese counterpart, it remains to be seen if Jaishankar will meet Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on the sidelines of the SCO meet. His meeting would be significant as Jaishankar, as well as Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla, have made clear the correlation between positive diplomatic ties and peace on the border. Besides, the last week has seen Chinese troops manoeuvring for more advantageous locations on the LAC. Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi is also slated to attend the CFM but the chances of him meeting Jaishankar are bleak. The MEA said this would be the third CFM meeting that India will be attending as a full member of SCO. India has been taking an active part in various SCO dialogue mechanisms under the Chairmanship of the Russian Federation in this year. The SCO Summit will be held in the near future. The CFM meeting in Moscow will review the preparations for the forthcoming SCO Summit and also exchange views on international and regional issues. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to attend this summit where he will sit across Chinese President Xi Jinping and Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan.