China and India have agreed to reduce tensions a week after their deadliest clashes in over 50 years on the disputed Himalayan border left 20 Indian troops dead in brutal hand-to-hand fighting.
The June 15 battle, reportedly fought with fists, clubs and rocks, was the first time troops have been killed on their frontier since 1975 and marked a major deterioration in ties between the two Asian giants.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said that after talks between the top regional military commanders on Monday, both sides “agreed to take necessary measures to promote a cooling of the situation”.
The Press Trust of India said the meeting was between Lieutenant General Harinder Singh, commander of the 14 Corps, and Major General Liu Lin, commander of the Tibet Military District.
“The holding of this meeting shows that both sides want to deal with their disagreement, manage the situation and de-escalate the situation through dialogue and consultations,” Zhao told a regular news conference.
The two sides “exchanged frank and in-depth views” and “agreed to maintain dialogue and jointly committed to promoting peace and tranquillity in the border areas”, Zhao added.
There was no official comment from New Delhi but an Indian army source said that after the meeting, reportedly lasting almost 11 hours, that there was a “mutual consensus to disengage”.
He added that ways to reduce frictions in the Ladakh region opposite Tibet “were discussed and will be taken forward by both the sides”.
The meeting came ahead of virtual talks between the foreign ministers of India, China and Russia later Tuesday, ostensibly to discuss the coronavirus and commemorate the end of World War II.
While Indian Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar made no direct mention of the clashes in his opening remarks, Russia’s Sergei Lavrov said that Moscow saw no need to mediate between the two countries.
“I don’t think China or India need any help whatsoever,” Lavrov said.
Russia is a major supplier of arms to both countries.
The Times of India reported that Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, in Moscow this week, would press Russia to fast-track delivery of its S-400 missile defence system as well as spares for fighter planes, tanks and submarines.
– Boycott calls –
China has said it suffered casualties but has not given more details. Indian media reports suggested more than 40 Chinese soldiers were killed or seriously injured.
India has since sent huge reinforcements of soldiers, military equipment and fighter jets into the already highly militarised region. China is reportedly following suit.
In India there have been growing calls for a boycott of Chinese goods.
The clashes followed an earlier agreement to disengage struck in early June after weeks of rising tensions on the border, known as the Line of Actual Control, that included several brawls.
The June 15 violence took place around 4,500 metres (15,000 feet) above sea level in the Galwan river valley, where both sides accuse each other of encroaching on their respective territory.
China is claiming all of the valley as its own, which Indian analysts and officials say is a new demand. China now reportedly controls more of the northern shore of the Pangong Tso lake.
Harsh Pant from the Observer Research Foundation think-tank in New Delhi said he was sceptical that anything concrete had been resolved so far in the talks between the military commanders.
“Anything that the Chinese now say can’t be taken on face value. India, hopefully, has learnt its lessons now,” Pant told AFP.
“The episode has shaken Indian’s belief that a normal rational relationship with China is possible. And the power disparities are so huge that there is a degree of discomfort and suspicion in New Delhi,” he said.
Agric Minister Shield’s Factional AFAN Leader From Police Invitation
The minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Sabo Nanono, on Friday, 17th June, 2021 at the ICC (International Conference Centre), in Abuja prevented policemen on duty from taking factional leader of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) Mr Farouk Rabiu for questioning on fraud related matters.
According to reliable sources and eye witnesses at the scene which was the venue of the 2021, Council on Agriculture, the police were there to invite Farouk to Force headquarters following a petition against him for acts that bordered on criminality.
Recently a federal high court sitting in Abuja had cautioned the renegade group led by Farouk through their lawyer, on Wednesday,15/2/2021, against parading themselves as leaders of AFAN until the matter is determined in court.
Farouk had been accused of defrauding investors using the name of AFAN Kano branch which he illegally registered, a matter which had been brought before the Corporate Affairs Commission, who revoked the registration.
However, Farouk has been continuously recognised as the leader of AFAN, by the Minister who hails from the same state with him despite several petitions from the Arc Kabir Ibrahim led executive.
The minister’s actions in siding with Farouk despite a case in court to resolve the leadership tussle of AFAN, has been allegedly linked to the minister’s shameful removal as chairman of AFAN Kano, long before he became appointed minister.
Witnesses at the scene stated that the minister after frantic efforts to get the Inspector General on phone to call off his men failed, resorted to giving an unhindered exit to Farouk in his official car, tantamount to obstruction of justice, much to the chagrin of the police officers.
A reliable source further disclosed that the policemen declined to follow the minister to his office.
Three Soldiers Injured as Troops Kill ISWAP Terrorists in Borno
Troops of the Nigerian Army under the Operation Hadin Kai have killed several ISWAP Terrorists in Dikwa town, Borno State.
According to a statement issued on Wednesday by the Director Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Mohammed Yerima, the gallant troops decisively dealt with the terrorists who were attempting to infiltrate the town on Tuesday.
The terrorist elements were said to have mounted five gun trucks, others mounted motorcycles, while others moved by foot.
They were, however, met with superior fire power by troops in conjunction with air bombardment by Air Task Force.
“The marauding terrorists were thoroughly vanquished forcing them to withdraw in high state of confusion abandoning their truck, guns and ammunition,” the statement read.
“During the encounter, six members of the terrorists groups were neutralized, several others were severely injured while the survivors withdrew in total disarray leaving behind their deceased colleagues”.
Three soldiers, however, sustained various degrees of injuries but have now been stabilised.
Items recovered during the encounter included one gun truck, eight AK 47 rifles, 40 rounds of 7.62mm Special, 39 special ammo, three motorcycles and six magazines.
To mop up the area, troops conducted exploitation in the early hours of Wednesday in conjunction with the Civilian Joint Task Force and hunters along the terrorists’ withdrawal routes and recovered 90 rounds of 7.62 mm x 54 on links belonging to the fleeing terrorists.
Meanwhile, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Major General Faruk Yahaya, has commended the gallant troops over the feat and charged them to remain resolute and steadfast.
He urged them to maintain the tempo in order to ensure total obliteration of terrorist groups within the North East region.
Onion Marketers Threaten to Stop Supply to Southern Nigeria
The Onion Producers and Marketers Association of Nigeria has threatened to stop the supply of onions down to the South from June 7, 2021.
The group said it would carry out the threat if the government fails to compensate its members who have suffered losses in recent times following attacks in some parts of the country.
President of the association, Aliyu Umar, made this known to journalists at a press briefing on Sunday in Sokoto State.
He explained that the government under a committee led by the Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello had promised to compensate their members, many of whom suffered huge losses in Abia, Imo and Oyo States during the #EndSARS and Shasha market crisis.
However, according to him, the promise has not been kept and the members have reportedly lost over 4 billion naira.
“We are calling on the state and Federal Government to restore law and order in the state, and we are calling on the good people of the southern part of Nigeria to live with the Hausa community in peace as we are only there for our lawful businesses,” Umar said.
“We also call on state governments to collaborate with fed govt to set up a committee to investigate the incident that led to the loss of lives and property of the Onion Association members.
“Furthermore, if the government fails to adhere to what we are saying, we are shutting the supply of onion to the entire south by Monday the 7th of June 2021”.
In recent times, the price of Onions skyrocketed from just about ₦20,000 to nearly a hundred thousand, in less than a year – a situation which quickly gave it the reputation of ‘new gold’.
While the price hike could not be understood by many, some traders have attributed the increment to seasonal fluctuations, a general increase in prices of fertilizers among other items, strike actions as well as insecurity arising from the #EndSARS protests.
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