New Delhi – Indian military will not be participating in the Kavkaz 2020 military exercise to be held in Russia next month. India has taken this decision, given the participation of China and Pakistan in the practices. Russia will soon be informed about it. But Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will be attending the meeting of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) meeting to be held in Russia. It was also announced a few days ago that he would not be meeting the Chinese representatives at the meeting. Both these Indian decisions taken against the background of the reigning tension on the Ladakh border are delivering a strong message to China.
A few hours ago, an important meeting was held in the South Block. Foreign Minister S Jaishankar and Defence Chief General Bipin Rawat also participated in the discussion. The issue of Kavkaz 2020 military exercise was raised in this meeting. Russia had demanded that India should send a unit of the defence forces to participate in the practice. Indian defence forces have participated in the military exercises in Russia even in the past. But as per military sources, the decision was taken during the meeting that it will not be advisable to send an army unit to participate in the exercise against the background of the tension on the Chinese border. The sources also pointed to the Coronavirus menace all over the world.
Despite all this, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will be participating in the SCO Defence Ministers’ meeting to be held in Russia in September. Russian Defence Minister Sergey Shoygu has reacted that he is very keen to meet the Indian Defence Minister during the session. Whereas, India too, has said that some critical issues will be discussed during this meeting with Russia. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will be refusing to meet his Chinese counterpart and will be raising the issue of Chinese expansionism. Therefore, Rajnath Singh’s Russia visit is being keenly followed.
Even after three months of diplomatic and military negotiations, the Chinese military has still not retreated from Pangong Tso, Depsang, Finger Cliff and Gogra Heights regions. Satellite photographs and reports have been published, showing massive Chinese deployments in these regions. It is claimed that China has deployed a minimum of 40,000 soldiers in this area. India has replied with an equivalent deployment. Along with this deployment, rounds of negotiations are being held. But the Indian Chief of Defence Staff, General Bipin Rawat, warned a few days ago that if the diplomatic and military negotiations fail, India will use the military option.