Elliot Engel, chief of the US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, on Monday said that he was “extremely concerned” by the Chinese aggression against India along the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh and urged Beijing to “respect norms and use diplomacy and existing mechanisms to resolve its border questions”.
“I am extremely concerned by the ongoing Chinese aggression along the Line of Actual Control on the India-China border. China is demonstrating once again that it is willing to bully its neighbours rather than resolve conflicts according to international law,” Mr Engel, a Democrat, said.
“Countries must all abide by the same set of rules so that we don’t live in a world where ‘might makes right.’ I strongly urge China to respect norms and use diplomacy and existing mechanisms to resolve its border questions with India,” he added.
— House Foreign Affairs Committee (@HouseForeign) June 1, 2020
Indian and Chinese troops have been facing off along the de-facto border in Ladakh since early May, after Chinese troops intruded into Indian territory, Indian military officials say. Both sides have dug in defences and brought equipment in recent days.
India has said the Chinese military was hindering normal patrolling by its troops along the Line of Actual Control or LAC in Ladakh and Sikkim, and strongly refuted Beijing’s contention that the escalating tension between the two armies was triggered by trespassing of Indian forces across the Chinese side.
The standoff is the most serious since India and China, who fought a brief war in 1962, were locked in a similar faceoff in Doklam, in the eastern Himalayas, that lasted nearly three months in 2017.
Despite talks spread over two decades, the two countries have not been able to settle their 3,500-km border and lay claim to large tracts of remote territory in each other’s possession.
China’s military friction with the US has also been on the rise with the American navy stepping its patrols in the disputed South China Sea as well as the Taiwan Straits. Washington and Beijing are also engaged in a war of words over the origin of the coronavirus pandemic.
However, both India and China have rejected US intervention in their disputes including an offer from US President Donald Trump himself. Sidestepping Mr Trump’s offer to mediate, India said it is in talks with China to deal with the military standoff.