Li Shangfu to attend SCO meet in India from April 27-28, confirms China’s Defence Ministry

25 April, 2023 | Vaishali Sharma

India Top News

Chinese State Councilor and Defence Minister Li Shangfu will attend a defence ministers' meeting among members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.

According to The Global Times, Chinese Defence Minister Li Shangfu will make his first visit to India this week to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Defence Ministers’ meeting.

According to the Chinese Defence Ministry, the Chinese Defence Minister will attend the SCO from Thursday to Friday (April 27-28), giving a speech and meeting with the heads of delegations from other countries.

Global Times, in a tweet, said, “Chinese State Councilor and Defence Minister Li Shangfu will attend a defence ministers’ meeting among members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation from Thursday to Friday in India. He will make a speech and meet with head of delegations from other countries: Chinese Defence Ministry.”

Following the 2020 Galwan Valley hostilities, this will be the first visit to India by a Chinese Defence Minister. A month ago, China’s new Defence Minister was nominated Li Shangfu, a US-backed general. Li has been sanctioned by the US since 2018, and his appointment comes at a time when relations between Beijing and Washington are becoming increasingly strained, according to CNN.

Li Shangfu, an aerospace expert, was unanimously elected to replace outgoing defence commander Wei Fenghe by the country’s rubber-stamp parliament, the National People’s Congress. China and India have a lengthy history of border violations, the most recent of which occurred in Arunachal Pradesh in December 2022.

Prior to that, a skirmish occurred in Galwan in June 2020 when Chinese troops attempted to aggressively change the status quo on the Ladakh-Arunachal border in eastern Ladakh. Twenty Indian soldiers were killed in the Galwan Valley fight, which took place in hand-to-hand combat in sub-zero temperatures on the night of June 15 and 16, 2020.

The clash was the deadliest in almost four decades between India and China. The incident and its aftermath were almost entirely ignored by China’s state media.

However, following the Galwan clash in 2020, additional rounds of military and diplomatic talks were held to end the situation. Disengagement occurred at several border sites, but overall, there remains a stalemate on complete disengagement.

Following the SCO Foreign Ministers’ conference, a Foreign Ministers’ meeting is set for May 5 in Goa. Pakistan Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari is expected to attend.

The SCO Defence Ministers’ conference is set to take place in India on April 27 and 28. Meanwhile, the SCO foreign ministers’ conference is set for May 4-5 in Goa. India, Russia, China, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Pakistan are SCO members.