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China's Xi Jinping meets PLA troops connected with Ladakh standoff during Xinjiang tour

Chinese President Xi Jinping, who made a rare visit this week to the restive Xinjiang region which borders Ladakh, met the troops and officers stationed there.

China president Xi Jinping meets PLA troops connected with Ladakh standoff during Xinjiang tour snt
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Xinjiang, First Published Jul 16, 2022, 7:01 PM IST

During a rare visit this week to the restrictive Xinjiang region, which borders Ladakh, Chinese President Xi Jinping met with the soldiers and officers stationed there and thanked them for their "outstanding contributions" to the province's stabilisation and border defence.

Xi met with the representatives of the officers and troops stationed in Xinjiang on Friday in the provincial capital of Urumqi. Xi is the Central Military Commission (CMC) leader, the overall high command of the Chinese military.

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Xi extended greetings to all the commanders and soldiers of the troops stationed in the province during his visit there from July 12 to July 15, where his government is widely accused of oppressing ethnic minorities that are primarily Muslim. He also fully affirmed the "outstanding contributions" made by the troops stationed there, according to the state-run Xinhua news agency.

Photos in the official media revealed that Qi Fabao, the regimental commander of the PLA who was hurt during the June 2020 clash at Galwan in eastern Ladakh, was also present at the meeting in addition to the top brass of the Western Theatre Command of the PLA, which manages the 3,488 km-long LAC between India and China. For defending the border, he was later recognised with the title "hero regiment commander."

President Xi stressed the need to put into practice the Communist Party's idea of strengthening the Army in the new era, implementing the strategic military policy of the new era, and actively contributing to promoting social stability and long-term stability in Xinjiang, according to official media reports. However, full details of his speech were not made public.

Xi's meeting with the troops is significant as the Xinjiang Military Command of the People's Liberation Amy (PLA) oversees the India-China border in the Ladakh region amidst a military standoff between the two sides since May 2020.

Also, his meeting with the Chinese troops in Xinjiang took place ahead of the 16th round of military talks between India and China to be held on Sunday. 

India has been pressing for quick disengagement of troops from all the remaining friction points in eastern Ladakh, insisting that peace and tranquillity along the border are prerequisites for progress in overall bilateral ties. 

Twenty Indian soldiers were killed in the fierce combat in Galwan Valley on June 15 in 2020, an incident that marked the most serious military conflict between the two sides. After prolonged delay, China acknowledged four casualties on its side. 

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At the fresh round of talks on Sunday, the Indian side is expected to press for disengagement of troops as soon as possible in all the remaining friction points besides seeking resolution of issues in Depsang Bulge and Demchok. 

As a result of a series of military and diplomatic talks, the two sides completed the disengagement process last year in the north and south banks of the Pangong lake and in the Gogra area. Each side currently has around 50,000 to 60,000 troops along the LAC in the sensitive mountainous sector.

(With inputs from PTI)

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