Top diplomats from the United States raised concerns about the border tensions between India and China on Thursday. Indian-American Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi appealed to Beijing to stop military provocations, and US National Security Council Director for South and Central Lisa Curtis said the tension had “reinforced the importance of the US-India strategic partnership”.
“I am deeply concerned about this issue, which is why I authored a bipartisan resolution overwhelmingly approved by the House urging China to end its military provocations of India and to pursue a diplomatic resolution,” Krishnamoorthi said after a classified briefing on the matter by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Krishnamoorthi is the only and the first Indian-American politician to be part of the panel. This was the first meeting of the committee on the matter.
Krishnamoorthi added that he will continue to look into this dispute between New Delhi and Beijing.
The American politician’s comments came hours after Curtis told Carnegie Endowment, a think tank, that India’s response to China had been strong but responsible. “While always seeking to de-escalate through diplomatic means, India also demonstrated military and economic resolve,” she said.
Curtis added that Beijing’s actions related to the border dispute with India had “strengthened the US resolve to work towards building that relationship as a bulwark against Chinese aggression”, reported The Hindu. She further noted that the US had provided unambiguous support to India throughout the crisis.
The American diplomat added that India and the US should focus on matters of converging interests and operationalise their cooperation around them. Curtis said the countries should also accept that there will be difference in policies between them on other topics.
“When it comes to the South Asia region, we have seen India reluctant, I think, for the U.S. to become more involved, but I think you will see that changing because of the situation that we are finding ourselves in,” she said.
Military heads of India and China have engaged in several rounds of talks over the last three months after 20 Indian soldiers and an unknown number of Chinese soldiers were killed in violent clashes in Galwan Valley in June. But these talks have failed to break the impasse.
On September 10, India’s Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar met his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Moscow on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit. The two ministers agreed on a five-point plan to defuse tensions between the countries and said the current situation in the border areas of Ladakh was “not in the interest of either side”. They agreed, therefore, that the border troops of both sides should “continue their dialogue, quickly disengage, maintain proper distance and ease tensions”.
On September 7, China accused India of “outrageously firing warning shots” in a new confrontation on the southern bank of Pangong Tso lake, describing it as as “a serious military provocation”. India denied this and said Chinese troops attempted to close in on Indian forward positions along the Line of Actual Control and “fired a few rounds in the air”. This was the first confirmed use of firearms on the Line of Actual Control by troops in more than four decades.
On September 1, the Ministry of External Affairs had said that Chinese troops engaged in “provocative action” on August 31, while discussions between ground commanders were underway. This followed by earlier moves on the intervening night of August 29 and 30, which, the Indian Army said, were “provocative” military movements to change the status quo.