United States President Donald Trump on Thursday referred to the border tensions between India and China as a “big conflict” and said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was not “in a good mood” because of the situation, PTI reported. He also repeated his offer to mediate between the two countries.
“They have a big conflict India and China,” Trump was quoted as saying by the news agency at a press conference. “Two countries with 1.4 billion people each. Two countries with very powerful militaries. India is not happy and probably China is not happy.”
Trump added that he had spoken to Modi about the standoff between India and China. “He [Modi] is not in a good mood about what is going on with China,” Trump said.
At the press conference, Trump was also asked about his offer to mediate between the two countries. “I would do that [mediate], If they [India and China] thought it would help,” he said.
On Wednesday too, Trump had offered to mediate between India and China amid the escalating border tensions. The US president has also, in the past, made multiple offers to mediate between India and Pakistan after New Delhi in August stripped Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and split the erstwhile state into two Union Territories.
In response to Trump’s offer on China, India on Thursday said its troops were approaching border management responsibly and that the two countries had mechanisms in place to resolve tensions through bilateral talks.
Over the last two weeks, Chinese troops have clashed with the Indian Army at several points along the Line of Actual Control. India and China do not share a defined and demarcated border. Instead, there is the Line of Actual Control, which stretches thousands of kilometres from Ladakh all the way to Arunachal Pradesh. On Tuesday, Modi reportedly met the three service chiefs, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat to discuss the border stand-off.
The dispute between India and China centres around a strategic bridge being built near Daulat Beg Oldi, a military post south of the Karakoram Pass. China has reportedly asked India to stop building infrastructure even on its own side of the LAC. New Delhi, on the other hand, has asked Beijing to maintain the status quo on the border. In recent weeks, India and China have reportedly deployed additional troops along the LAC at North Sikkim, Uttarakhand, Arunachal Pradesh and Ladakh.
Last week, India had strongly contested Beijing’s claims that its soldiers had crossed the LAC and entered Chinese territory. The United States had also backed India and said that tensions along the LAC were a reminder of the fact that Chinese aggression could be real, not merely rhetorical.