Beijing’s aggressive stance along its border with India fits with the larger pattern of Chinese aggression in other parts of world and confirms the “true nature” of the Chinese Communist Party, US President Donald Trump was quoted as saying by White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany.
Against the backdrop of the standoff between Indian and Chinese troops in eastern Ladakh, she said the US was closely monitoring the current situation. McEnany added that both India and China have expressed a desire to de-escalate and the US supportS a peaceful resolution of current situation.
Earlier, during a Congressional hearing, US lawmakers expressed concern over the aggressive Chinese actions along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
“This past month, China engaged in deadly clashes along the Line of Actual Control, resulting in the tragic deaths of a dozen Indian soldiers and an unknown Chinese death toll as well,” said Congressman Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Select Intelligence Committee, during a hearing on coronavirus and US-China relations.
Senior fellow at Brookings Institute Tanvi Madan told members of the House Select Intelligence Committee that since early May there has been attempts by the People”s Liberation Army of China to “unilaterally change the status quo” along the LAC, the de facto boundary between the two countries.
This, along with the coronavirus pandemic have had and will continue to have an impact on Indian views and approaches towards China, the United States, and the international order, she said.
Madan said that when Chinese leader Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi met in October 2019, they sought to stress on Sino-Indian cooperation.
However, the pandemic and the boundary crisis have demonstrated that despite Delhi and Beijing’s efforts over the last few decades to engage, India-China ties remains a fundamental and increasingly competitive relationship that can even spill over into conflict, she said.
Observing that the boundary crisis and the pandemic have reinforced and accelerated concerns in India about China’s lack of transparency, Madan said it sends uncertain commitment to the rules-based order.
“The Indian government has signalled that the boundary crisis will have a serious impact on the broader relationship, particularly if the status quo ante is not restored speedily,” she noted.
The border crisis and the Coronavirus pandemic have led to calls for India to maintain and even deepen its partnership with the US and for Washington to play a more sustained and robust role in ensuring that a rules-based order prevails in the region and globally, she said.
“Washington will be considering different scenarios. It should also assess what New Delhi might ask of it in each case, whether or not the US is willing to be responsive, and if it is, prepare for those contingencies,” she said.
“If the US wants to be responsive or to show support to India, it should convey this willingness while taking care not to escalate the situation. Such support will facilitate a closer Indian alignment with the US in the future.”
Meanwhile, on New Delhi’s decision to ban 59 Chinese apps, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said India’s “clean app approach will boost India’s sovereignty and boost integrity and national security”.
Former US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley also lauded the move saying “India is continuing to show it won’t back down from China’s aggression”.
“Good to see India banning 59 popular apps owned by Chinese firms, including TikTok, which counts India as one of its largest markets,” she said.
The Indian and Chinese armies were locked in a bitter standoff in multiple locations in eastern Ladakh for the last seven weeks, and the tension escalated manifold after 20 Indian soldiers were killed in a violent clash in Galwan Valley on June 15.
Days after the brutal face-off, the Indian government on June 29 banned 59 Chinese apps, including TikTok, Shareit, UC Browser and Xiaomi’s Mi Community over national security concerns in a diplomatic reaction to the Chinese aggression.
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, invoking it’s power under section 69 A of the Information Technology Act read with the relevant provisions of the Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking of Access of Information by Public) Rules 2009 and in view of the emergent nature of threats decided to block 59 apps since in view of the information available they are “engaged in activities which are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, the security of state and public order”.
The United States had widely encouraged the action and some prominent lawmakers also urged the American government to follow suit as it is believed that the short video-sharing app TikTok is a major security risk to the country.