Chinese defence minister Li Shangfu will visit India this week to attend the meeting of defence ministers of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) to be held in New Delhi on April 27 and 28, the Chinese defence ministry announced on Tuesday.
This will be the first visit by a Chinese defence minister to India since Indian and Chinese militaries have been locked in a three-year standoff in eastern Ladakh. During the visit he is expected to hold talks with his Indian counterpart Rajnath Singh on ending the prolonged eastern Ladakh standoff which has severely strained bilateral ties.
The Chinese defence ministry said in a statement, “ Upon invitation, Chinese State Councilor and Defence Minister General Li Shangfu will attend the meeting of the Council of Defence Ministers of the Member States of the SCO in New Delhi, India, from April 27 to 28,”
According to the statement, “During the meeting, General Li will address the conference and meet with the heads of delegations from relevant countries to communicate and exchange views on the issues of international and regional situations as well as defence and security cooperation. ”
Li as well as Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu are expected to hold bilateral meetings with their Indian counterpart Rajnath Singh on the sidelines of the meeting.
India and China have been locked in a standoff in the Ladakh sector for nearly three years, since early May 2020, sending bilateral ties plummeting to their worst in decades. Both sides have deployed thousands of troops and heavy armament along the LAC.