India on Thursday appeared to decline United States President Donald Trump’s offer of intervention in its border tensions with China. In a statement, India’s Ministry of External Affairs said the country has been following established mechanisms and procedures laid out in bilateral pacts with China to resolve the matter, PTI reported.
“Our troops have taken very responsible approach towards border management,” the ministry said in a statement. “Indian troops are strictly following procedures laid out in bilateral pacts with China to resolve the issue. India and China have established mechanisms at military and diplomatic levels to resolve border issues through talks.”
The Ministry of External Affairs said the Indian Armed Forces scrupulously follow instructions from their leadership. It added that India is committed in its resolve to preserve its sovereignty.
The heart of the matter
Trump on Wednesday offered to mediate between India and China amid the escalating tension. “We have informed both India and China that the United States is ready, willing and able to mediate or arbitrate their now raging border dispute,” Trump said in a tweet.
Over the last two weeks, Chinese troops have clashed with the Indian Army at several points along the Line of Actual Control, ratcheting up tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbours. On Tuesday, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi reportedly met the three service chiefs, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat to discuss the ongoing border stand-off.
The ongoing standoff centres around a strategic bridge being built near Daulat Beg Oldi, the last military post south of the Karakoram Pass. The Darbuk-Shyok-Daulat Beg Oldi road, once fully metalled, will give India a major advantage in terms of access and military mobilisation.
China has reportedly put forward the condition that India stop building infrastructure even on its own side of the LAC. New Delhi, on the other hand, has asked Beijing to maintain status quo at the border. In recent weeks, India and China have reportedly deployed additional troops along North Sikkim, Uttarakhand, Arunachal Pradesh, along with Ladakh.
On Tuesday, Chinese President Xi Jinping ordered his country’s army to boost training and battle preparedness to face “worst-case scenarios”. The country asked its citizens willing to return to China to register by May 27.
Last week, India had strongly contested Beijing’s claims that its soldiers had crossed the LiAC and entered Chinese territory. The United States had also sided with India and said that tension along the LAC was a reminder of the fact that Chinese aggression can be real, not merely rhetorical.
The US president has, in the past, made multiple offers to mediate between India and Pakistan after New Delhi in August last year stripped Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and split the erstwhile state into two Union Territories.