Just two days after the first deadly clashes in decades between China and India, both countries are calling for a peaceful resolution. But the violence also comes at a time when the US has strengthened its relationship with India, and has seen increased tensions with China…
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is set to meet with one of China’s top officials today amid increased tensions between Washington and Beijing. From trade disputes, to involvement in Hong Kong, to the coronavirus, the meeting is expected to cover a range of topics that could now include the latest dispute between China and India.
India has confirmed that at least 20 of its soldiers were killed following border clashes with China on Monday. But Beijing has yet to report a number of casualties on its side. India has since increased it patrol in the area, and it was seen moving several military vehicles towards the border on Wednesday.
The border dispute between China and India has been ongoing for decades, with the two countries agreeing to a Line of Actual Control after a war broke out in 1962. The surrounding territory has become increasingly militarized amid recent disputes, and on Monday, China claims Indian soldiers crossed the border twice and acted provocatively, which led to a fight that included rocks and clubs, but no shots fired.
But just two days after the first deadly clash since 1975, both China and India say they are seeking a peaceful resolution. A spokesperson for China’s Foreign Ministry said they are in communication with India, but they refuse to accept blame because they say the clashes happened on their side of the border.
“Chinese and Indian border troops are jointly dealing with the relevant matter on the ground,” said Zhao Lijian. He went on to say, “The merits of the incident are very clear. This incident happened at the Chinese side of the line of actual control and China is not to blame for this.“
India’s prime minister has also denied that his country provoked the attack, and he claimed the soldiers who died gave their lives for a just cause.
“I want to assure the country that the sacrifice of our soldiers will not go waste. For us, the unity and sovereignty of the country is the most important and no one can prevent us from defending it,” said Narendra Modi. He went on to say, “India wants peace but if provoked we are capable of giving an appropriate response.”
The world is watching this conflict closely, because not only are these countries the two most populated in the world, but they are also two nuclear powers, and the effects of an all-out war would be devastating.
Hours after news of the clashes broke, the State Department released a statement, in which it did not appear to condemn either side. Instead, it said, “We are closely monitoring the situation between India and Chinese forces along the Line of Actual Control. Both India and China have expressed a desire to de-escalate, and we support a peaceful resolution of the current situation.”
Earlier this year, President Trump was greeted by a stadium of fans when he visited India to meet with Prime Minister Modi. The State Department also confirmed that the two leaders discussed the situation on the India-China border recently, during a phone call on June 2.
This all comes amid continued conflict between the US and China, as the Trump Administration has blamed Beijing for the spread of the coronavirus and threatened against involvement in Hong Kong. Now it remains to be seen if the US will try to play an even bigger role in relations between India and China, if tensions continue.