Willing to mediate: Trump on border tensions between India, China
United States President Donald Trump said he was willing to mediate between India and China to resolve their border dispute, a development not many on both sides of the border anticipated. Last year, Trump had said he would offer assistance to iron out differences between India and Pakistan. He made the offer multiple times, and New Delhi junked it on all occasions.
Frequent stand-offs between Chinese and Indian troops on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) since the beginning of May have sparked diplomatic tensions. Beijing claims India is trespassing on its territory, but New Delhi said it was involved with infrastructure projects, and would not bow down despite the aggressive nature of Chinese. India takes a responsible approach towards border issues, said MEA.
As the Indian side pondered over its options, Trump stunned everyone with his tweet. "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! (sic)" he wrote. To note, New Delhi considers border disputes as bilateral issues that should be solved with neighboring countries without foreign interference.
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
To recall, in September last year, Trump said he wanted India and Pakistan to resolve their issues, inviting a response from External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar. He said India could hold talks with a country and not "terroristan". Months later, when POTUS arrived in India in February, he told Prime Minister Narendra Modi that he didn't entertain Pakistan's PM Imran Khan's request for mediation.
As it turns out, earlier this month, Alice Wells, the top US diplomat for South Asia, accused China of trying to change the status quo along the border. She asked India to resist such attempts. "For anyone who was under any illusions that Chinese aggression was only rhetorical, I think they need to speak to India," she told the Atlantic Council think-tank.
Yesterday, PM Modi met NSA Ajit Doval, Chief of Defense Staff General Bipin Rawat, and three service chiefs. Separately, Chinese President Xi Jinping asked forces to "comprehensively strengthen training of troops and prepare for war," sparking various speculations. Later, Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said China's position on border issues agreed with "consensus reached by the two leaders," referring to the Mamallapuram informal meet.