The United States Congress on Tuesday passed a defence policy bill that calls out Chinese aggression against India along the Line of Actual Control, reported PTI.
The National Defense Authorisation Act, or the NDDA, passed by both the US House of Representatives and the Senate, includes the resolution of American Indian Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi. It urges the Chinese government to end its military aggression against India along the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh.
Since the border standoff began in early May, India and China have had eight rounds of Corps Commander-level talks. The discussions, however, have hit a stalemate after some initial disengagement. Both sides have made preparations to maintain thousands of troops and equipment in sub-zero conditions.
The inclusion of Krishnamoorthi’s resolution, which passed each chamber with strong support, reflects America’s support to its allies, including India, in the Indo-Pacific region.
“Violent aggression is seldom the answer, and this is especially true for the Line of Actual Control, which is the disputed border region that separates the People’s Republic of China from India,” Krishnamoorthi said. “By including my resolution language in the NDAA [National Defense Authorization Act] and signing that legislation into law, the United States government will send a clear message that China’s military provocations of India will not be tolerated.”
Krishnamoorthi, who represents Illinois’s 8th congressional district, said the US was committed to supporting its allies and to help India resolve the border standoff using diplomatic means.
The NDDA expresses concern over China’s continued military aggression along the border with India. It says that China “should work with” India toward de-escalating the situation using diplomatic mechanisms and to avoid use of force or coercion to settle disputes.
“Attempts by China to advance baseless territorial claims, including those in the South China Sea, the East China Sea, and with respect to Bhutan, are destabilising and inconsistent with international law,” the bill said.
The $740 billion (over Rs 54.46 lakh crore) defence policy bill will become a law if President Donald Trump signs it. However, Trump has threatened to veto the bill as it does not contain provisions for withdrawal of legal protections for social media companies.
The tensions along the Line of Actual Control started with initial scuffles that led to a pitched battle – without firearms – in June that saw 20 Indian soldiers killed. Beijing, however, refused to release casualty numbers on its side. Both India and China have accused each other of crossing into rival territory and of firing shots for the first time in 45 years.
On December 11, India had blamed China for the ongoing border standoff between the two countries, claiming that it tried to effect a “unilateral change” in the eastern Ladakh region. This came two days after External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said that the ties between the neighbours are passing through their most difficult phase, claiming that Beijing has offered “five differing explanations” for violating agreements on maintaining peace.
Meanwhile, on December 8, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said that the country was working with India for “further de-escalation” in Ladakh.