File photo of NSA Ajit Doval and his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi | Twitter | @EOIBeijing
File photo of NSA Ajit Doval and his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi | Twitter | @EOIBeijing
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New Delhi: National Security Adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval will virtually meet his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi Thursday as part of a BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) meeting.

Although Doval and Yang are meeting as part of a larger grouping, there are expectations that they will “utilise” the platform to take the dialogue forward on disengagement and de-escalation in the Ladakh sector of the Line of Actual Control (LAC), Indian diplomatic sources told ThePrint.

The two Asian giants have been locked in a stand-off in Ladakh since May, with multiple rounds of talks, at the diplomatic as well as military levels, failing to ease tensions so far.

According to sources, Russia is not leaving any stone unturned to bring the temperatures down between both its strategic partners — India and China — at the Himalayan border even as the neighbours gear up to maintain a heavy troop deployment in the frigid region through the upcoming winter.

Doval and Yang, who is also a member of the political bureau of the Chinese Communist Party’s central committee and director of the Office of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs, have known each other for a long time and share a bonhomie of sorts. 

During the 2017 Doklam stand-off, it was this personal rapport that helped settle matters, after both these cabinet-level officials met on the sidelines of a similar BRICS meeting, sources said.

Thus, the sources added, this meeting between the two, although happening on a multilateral platform, might help reach some common ground.

Also Read: India ‘extra’ alert along LAC stretch, Pakistan border as China delays corps commander talks

Third high-level meeting in September

The BRICS NSA meeting comes at a time when India is waiting for China to confirm dates for the next corps commander-level meeting, which is likely to be followed by another round of diplomatic talks.

Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of Russia’s Security Council, will represent Moscow at the meeting. The official agenda of the BRICS NSA meeting comprises contemporary challenges and threats to global, regional and national security.

This will be the third high-level meeting between India and China in September — earlier this month, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh met their Chinese counterparts in Moscow. 

At Jaishankar’s meeting with China Foreign Minister Wang Yi on 10 September, the two sides agreed on a five-point agenda to put an end to the ongoing standoff.

On Tuesday, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said in address to Parliament that a diplomatic relationship between India and China cannot progress if there is trouble and instability at the border. The defence minister added that keeping in mind past protocols, both countries kept troops at a certain minimum distance from the LAC, or at least their perceptions of the LAC.

Also Read: NSA Ajit Doval storms out of SCO meet over Pakistan’s ‘fictitious’ map


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