New Delhi: Even while India has dismissed reports of recent border skirmishes with China as a result of the “difference in perception of the LAC”, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, Alice Wells said, “Whether it is in the South China Sea or along the border with India, we continue to see provocations and disturbing behaviour by China that poses questions about how China seeks to use its growing power.” This was in response to a question on the recent border flare up in a one of Well’s farewell press briefings on Wednesday.
She said, “The flare-up on the border is a reminder that China’s aggression is not always just rhetorical.” She said that it was one of the reasons for “rallying of like-minded nations” whether through ASEAN or diplomatic groupings like the Quad.
India is part of the Quad with US, Japan and Australia. However, India has publicly maintained that the Quad is not to counter China after Beijing had objected to the grouping as one that would target China. PM Modi while speaking at the Shangri La Dialogue in 2018 had said, “India does not see the Indo-Pacific Region as a strategy or as a club of limited members. Nor as a grouping that seeks to dominate. And by no means do we consider it as directed against any country.”
On the other hand, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also lashed out at China saying that the Chinese Communist Party’s response to the Covid-19 outbreak in Wuhan has “accelerated our more realistic understanding of communist China.”
He also added that “The Chinese Communist Party chose to threaten Australia with economic retribution for the simple act of asking for an independent inquiry into the origins of the virus. It’s not right.” India was also part of the over 120 nations that backed the World Health Assembly resolution that was adopted on the May 19 in a virtual meeting.
In fact, just ahead of the World Health Assembly meeting Pompeo had held a video conferencing, among other countries, with those of the Quad as well. China was discussed during this meeting.