The United States on Tuesday said that it was closely monitoring the border dispute between India and China. White Press Secretary Jen Psaki added that President Joe Biden’s administration was concerned about China’s attempt to intimidate its neighbours.
The statement was made a day ahead of the 14th round of military talks between India and China to end the 21-month standoff at the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh.
The border tensions began in May 2020, when Chinese troops clashed with the Indian Army at several points along the Line of Actual Control. The tensions escalated further after a violent face-off on June 15, 2020.
Since then, the two countries have held several rounds of military and diplomatic talks to resolve the matter.
“We continue to closely monitor the situation, and we continue to support dialogue and peaceful resolution of these border disputes,” Psaki said. “We’ve been pretty clear how we view Beijing’s behaviour in the region and around the world. We believe it can be destabilising.”
However, China on Tuesday said that the situation in the border areas was “generally stable”.
Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin during a press briefing said that representatives of both the countries will gather at the Maldo meeting site on Wednesday for the disengagement talks.
“The two countries are maintaining dialogue and communication through diplomatic and military channels,” he said. “We hope the Indian side can work with China, and strive to switch from emergency response to normalised management and control in the border area as soon as possible.”
Despite China’s claims on stability, it has continued constructions in the border areas. India has vociferously criticised these activities.
On January 4, satellite images showed that China is constructing a bridge across East Ladakh’s Pangong Tso which would potentially allow its People’s Liberation Army to deploy troops faster between the north and south banks of the lake.
One-third of the nearly 160 kilometres-long lake lies in India, the other two-thirds in China. It was one of the prominent flashpoints when border tensions between the two countries flared up in 2020.
Last week, the Union Ministry of External Affairs had said that the bridge was being constructed in an area that is under China’s illegal occupation and the Indian government is taking steps to safeguard the country’s security interests.
On December 31, China had also renamed 15 places in Arunachal Pradesh – which it calls “South Tibet”. India had said that such “invented names” did not change the fact that the state has been and always will be an integral part of India.