US Ambassador backs India on rising tensions at China border— 'it's a reminder of what’s at stake'

Ambassador Alice G Wells, the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, in conversation with Rish Verma, the former US Ambassador to India from 2014 to 2017 on the issue of India-China border issuesAtlanticCouncil/YouTube

  • US Ambassador Alice G Wells has backed India on its issues with China along the border that have escalated in the past one month.
  • The constant aggression shown by the Chinese military “has to be resisted,” she remarked in conversation with Rish Verma, the former US Ambassador to India from 2014 to 2017.
  • “It’s a reminder of what’s at stake,” she said.
In the backdrop of the India-China skirmish along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), US Ambassador Alice G Wells has come out in support of India. “If you look to the South China Sea, there’s a method to Chinese operations,” she said in a discussion with Rish Verma, the former US Ambassador to India from 2014 to 2017.

“It is the constant aggression, and the constant attempt to shift the norms — shift what is the status quo — that has to be resisted, whether it’s in the South China Sea… or whether it’s in India’s own backyard, both on land and on the Indian ocean,” she added.


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Wells, who is the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, remarked that the problem is all the more acute in light of China’s efforts to “evade responsibility and spread misinformation.”

The tensions between India and China along the LAC have been escalating over the past month, with reports of Chinese troops tripling their surveillance and the Indian Army setting up new construction. “I think for anyone who was under any illusion about Chinese aggression was only rhetorical needs to speak to India where India, on a weekly, monthly and on a daily regular basis has to experience the pinpricks of the Chinese military,” said Wells.

Temporary face-offs between the two sides aren’t uncommon, but the intensification of reinforcements seems like a cause of concern with the entire country currently under lockdown. “It’s a reminder of what’s at stake — building and sustaining a world order that respects sovereignty, territorial integrity as well as the rules of international trade,” she added.

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China puts the blame on India
In a statement released on May 19, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs claimed, “the Indian Army has crossed the line across the western section of the Sino-India borders and the Sikkim section to enter Chinese territory.”

India’s Ministry of External Affairs and the Indian Army are yet to address the recent issues but officially, there have been two alterations along the India-China border. The first was on May 5, near the Pangong Tso lake in eastern Ladakh. The second occurred on May 9 at Naka La in northern Sikkim. In both cases, the confrontation resulted in aggressive behaviour on either side with injuries sustained by troops of both armies.


The point of contention seems to be India’s construction of roads and upgradation of infrastructure along the bordering areas. The Border Roads Organisation’s (BRO) project involves completing the construction of 61 strategic roads by 2022, including a 250-kilometre stretch along the Darbuk-Shyok-Daulat Beg Oldie road in Ladakh.
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“Temporary and short duration face-offs between border guarding troops do occur along the LAC due to the differing perceptions of the alignment of boundaries, which are not resolved,” Army Chief Gen Manoj Naravane said last week in a statement.

“Development of infrastructure capabilities along our Northern borders is on track,” he added.

SEE ALSO:
China reportedly triples its boats in India’s Pangong Tso Lake as tensions continue to rise

Amidst a pandemic, both China and India have reportedly deployed troops in Ladakh as tensions flare up along the border

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