Caught Unawares About China And India’s Border Dispute, Trumps Offers To Mediate

Report By: Nandika Chand | Srinagar, Kashmir | Last Updated May 29, 2020

Once again, the US President Donald Trump has put his foot where its not needed – this time, its the China and India border dispute. Trump has offered to mediate the standoff between the two Asian giants and happened to suggest that he has had a word with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi when actually nothing as happened. The two leaders last spoke on April 4 and that too about the anti-malarial drug, hydroxychloroquine.

In 2019, New Delhi rejected Trump’s offer to mediate the Kashmir conflict between India and Pakistan. And this time around, it has turned down foreign intervention for the China border row.

Tensions arose between India and China on May 5 with soldiers from both natons engaged in fist fights and stone pelting along the LAC. Three days later, the second confrontation occurred at Nathu La Pass in the Indian state of Sikkim after Indian soldiers stopped the Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) patrol party. Since then, Chinese and Indian soldiers have been neck-to-neck, with each side accusing the other of trespassing. However, at the governmental level, both countries have been quiet.

Michael Kugelman, the Deputy Director of the Asia Program at The Wilson Center in the US, said over the years Beijing has raised concerns about Indian building roads and airstrips near the border. He also pointed out the “lingering anger” about the “abrogation of Article 370 in conflict riddled Kashmir”. Kugelman said that China has an overwhelming desire to project strength and resolve at a moment when its under the global microscope for all the wrong reasons – especially the COVID-19 pandemic. “This provocation gives Beijing the chance to showcase its strength and defiance,” the analyst said.

The vice president, Satu Limaye, of the East West Center said the last thing India wants is a view that it cannot handle China on its own. Limaye highlighted that New Delhi downplayed China’s border aggression during the 2017 Doklam standoff too. Experts have adviced the US President to stand back. “If the US mediates, it could complicate, and not reinforce US – India relations,” they warned.

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