India says it’s engaged directly with China

Updated May 29 2020

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Experts worry that skirmishes between Indian and Chinese troops at the Line of Actual Control can trigger a full-blown conflict. — AFP ImageForum/File
Experts worry that skirmishes between Indian and Chinese troops at the Line of Actual Control can trigger a full-blown conflict. — AFP ImageForum/File

NEW DELHI: India said on Thursday it was engaged directly with China to peacefully resolve a border standoff that Indian experts say could set off an unintended conflict, but which Beijing has described as a broadly stable situation.

The comment came from an Indian foreign ministry spokesperson in response to a journalist’s question about President Donald Trump’s offer to mediate between the two countries.

“We are fully engaged with the Chinese side to peacefully resolve the issue,” The Hindu quoted Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Anurag Srivastava as saying when asked about Trump’s assertion that he had conveyed to India and China his willingness to “mediate or arbitrate” on the “raging border dispute” between them.

The response appeared to be notably short of an outright rejection of the US mediation offer, particularly given the strident words usually summoned by India to turn down mediation offers over the Kashmir dispute.

The Hindu said though that the spokesperson’s comments indicated that India would not accept Trump’s offer. The spokesperson, according to the paper, did not respond to questions about whether Chinese troops remained in areas patrolled by India, particularly in the Galwan valley.

“India is committed to the objective of maintenance of peace and tranquillity in the border areas with China and our armed forces scrupulously follow the consensus reached by our leaders and the guidance provided. At the same time, we remain firm in our resolve to ensuring India’s sovereignty and national security,” Srivastava said.

Published in Dawn, May 29th, 2020