NEW DELHI :
India said on Friday its military standoff with China can only be ended if the Chinese stop erecting new structures in Indian territory, ratcheting up the pressure on Beijing as world opinion solidified against Chinese aggressions on India and other Asian countries.
In an interview to news agency PTI, India’s ambassador in Beijing, Vikram Misri, said China has to stop the practice of transgressing and trying to erect structures on the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC). India, on its part, has always carried activities on the Indian side of the LAC, he said refuting China’s charges that it is India which transgressed into Chinese territory and obstructed Chinese patrolling, besides engaging in construction activities.
China’s claim of sovereignty over Galwan Valley in Ladakh is completely “untenable,” Misri said adding such claims would not help sort out tensions.
Actions taken by Chinese forces on the ground have considerably damaged trust in the bilateral relationship, Misri was cited as saying in reference to China amassing troops in close proximity to the border in violation of a 1993 pact – a point highlighted by India on Thursday.
It is entirely China’s responsibility to take a careful view of bilateral ties, decide which direction to move forward, he said, putting the onus of plummeting ties on China.
India hopes China will realise its responsibility in de-escalation and disengagement by moving back to its side of the LAC, Misri added in an apparent response to comments by Chinese ambassador to India, Sun Weidong, on Thursday that the responsibility for reducing tensions on the 3,488-km border was not with China.
Misri’s comments “show a hardening of India’s position” after bloody clashes in Galwan on 15 June left 20 Indian soldiers and an unknown number of Chinese dead, said Srikanth Kondapalli, a professor of Chinese Studies at the Jawaharlal Nehru University.
The Indian ambassador’s comments came a day after US secretary of state Mike Pompeo said the Trump administration was reviewing its global troop deployment to ensure it is “postured appropriately” to counter the growing Chinese military threat to countries such as India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines. News reports have already spoken of the presence of three US aircraft carrier groups in the Pacific Ocean.
“We’re going to make sure we’re postured appropriately to counter the PLA. We think that’s the challenge of our times, and we’re going to make sure we have resources in place to do that,” Pompeo said in Brussels. “In certain places there will be fewer American resources. There will be other places—I just talked about the threat from the Chinese Communist Party, so now threats to India, threats to Vietnam, threats to Malaysia, Indonesia, South China Sea challenges, the Philippines.”
“The situation is clearly not very pretty for India. Against this backdrop, if the US is seen opening up a new front vis-a-vis China, it could relieve some pressure off India,” said Harsh Pant, a professor of international relations at Kings College London. “With the real possibility of escalation of the present situation into a conflict, any leverage here is good.”
According to Kondapalli, “Pompeo’s comment has to be seen in conjunction with what (foreign minister) S. Jaishankar told his Chinese counterpart on 17 June—that if the situation is not defused, then it will have serious consequences for the bilateral (India-China) relationship.”
It could mean that India, which previously was not in favour of a containment policy against China, could be rethinking that, he said. “The Chinese have always looked at India-US relations with suspicion, thinking that both countries are collaborating for the containment of China. India has gone out of its way to assure China on this in the past. What Jaishankar’s comment could mean is that India may not adhere to this understanding anymore,” he said.
It can also indicate that India will re-look at its policy about not recognizing Taiwan diplomatically and moving away from its position that New Delhi recognizes Tibet as part of China, he added.