US is Ready, Willing and Able to Mediate India and China's 'Raging' Border Dispute, Says Donald Trump
A file photo of US President Donald Trump. (AP)
In a surprise move, US President Donald Trump on Wednesday offered to "mediate or arbitrate" the "raging" border dispute between India and China, saying he was "ready, willing and able" to ease the tensions, amid the continuing standoff between the two armies.
Trump had previously offered to mediate between India and Pakistan on the Kashmir issue, a proposal rejected by New Delhi which maintains there is no role for any third party in bilateral issues.
Trump took to Twitter on Wednesday to make the latest offer.
“We have informed both India and China that the United States is ready, willing and able to mediate or arbitrate their now raging border dispute. Thank you!” he wrote on the micro-blogging site.
We have informed both India and China that the United States is ready, willing and able to mediate or arbitrate their now raging border dispute. Thank you!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 27, 2020
Trump's unexpected offer came on a day when China took an apparently conciliatory tone by saying the situation at the border with India is "overall stable and controllable".
In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said both China and India have proper mechanisms and communication channels to resolve the issues through dialogue and consultations.
In New Delhi, Chinese Ambassador Sun Weidong said China and India should never let their differences shadow the overall bilateral ties and must enhance mutual trust. Without referring to the military tense military standoff, Sun said both sides should resolve their differences through communication and adhere to the basic premise that they pose no threat to each other.
"We should correctly view our differences and never let them shadow the overall situation of bilateral cooperation. At the same time, we should gradually seek understanding through communication and constantly resolve differences," Sun said.
The remarks by the two Chinese leaders came a day after President Xi Jinping ordered the military to scale up the battle preparedness, visualising the worst-case scenarios and asked it to resolutely defend the country's sovereignty.
Trump is currently involved in a tense showdown with China on the issue of trade, the origins of the coronavirus pandemic, Beijing's new security crackdown in Hong Kong, and the communist giant's aggressive military moves in the disputed South China Sea.
Trump's offer comes as India looks to match troops stationed by China at the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday had headed a meeting with National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat and the three Service Chiefs to discuss the ongoing border standoff with China in Ladakh.
Government sources said India will not stop infrastructure development projects in strategic areas along the nearly 3,500-km Sino-India border notwithstanding China's well-coordinated efforts to stall them by attempting to vitiate the situation in areas like eastern Ladakh.
Six rounds of talks between Indian and Chinese troops since the first border skirmish on May 5 have failed to de-escalate tensions as the two sides have maintained aggressive posturing in the disputed border areas.
The People Liberation Army’s main bone of contention has been the 255-km Darbuk-Shyok-DBO road that India last year built on its side of the border. It provides access to the Depsang area and Galwan Valley and ends near the Karakoram Pass. The infrastructure development has made it easier for patrols to operate and the frequency of patrolling can also be increased.
But China watchers have said the military transgressions are also a message from Beijing to New Delhi to step back and not try to position India as a potential supply lines hub in the post Covid-19 world; stop seducing manufacturers now based in China and abandon the barriers that are being raised for Chinese investments, goods and services, in the country.
(With inputs from PTI)