New York– Despite his tensions with Beijing, US President Donald Trump has offered to “mediate or arbitrate” the border dispute between India and China as the situation heated up with threats from both Beijing and Islamabad.
He tweeted on Wednesday: “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!”
The offer came as tensions between the US and China are rising with high-level diplomats of both countries exchanging Cold War-style rhetoric making Trump’s offer political showmanship rather than a realistic one.
Though China has been aggressive against India at the border in the eastern sector in Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh, its latest offensive at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the western sector in Ladakh has resulted in Indian and Chinese soldiers locked in a face-off in Galwan Valley, Pangong Tso, Demchok and Daulat Beg Oldie.
Trump’s diplomacy came a day after both China and Pakistan issued open threats of war on India’s both fronts. The Pakistan Army also initiated an unprovoked ceasefire violation with intense mortar-shelling along the Line of Control (LoC) in the Balakote sector of Poonch district in Jammu & Kashmir early Tuesday.
Posturing as an international statesman Trump has been keen to bring his style of diplomacy to India and has repeatedly offered to mediate between India and Pakistan.
Last year he made the dubious claim that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had asked him to “mediate or arbitrate” between India and Pakistan.
India has denied that such a request was ever made and pointed out that it holds that disputes between India and Pakistan are bilateral issues under the 1972 Simla Agreement between Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and then Pakistan President, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto.
Trump did not know that India and China shared a border, according to a book published earlier this year by two journalists from The Washington Post, which is owned by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
The authors, Phillip Rucker and Carol Leonning, claimed in their book “A Very Stable Genius” that Trump told Modi, “It’s not like you’ve got China on your border.”
“Modi’s expression gradually shifted, from shock and concern to resignation,” they wrote.
On Tuesday, China’s President Xi Jinping was quoted by state news agency Xinhua, as saying: “It is necessary to explore ways of training and preparing for war” and “to step up preparations for armed combat, to flexibly carry out actual combat military training, and to improve our military’s ability to perform military missions.” His statement was preceded by a decision to increase the budget for the Chinese military by 6.6 per cent.
China’s close ally, Pakistan expressed similar views threatening war. Pakistan’s army chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa during his second visit in a month, to the Line of Control (LoC) in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) on Sunday, said “Kashmir is a disputed territory and any attempt to challenge disputed status, including any political-cum-military thought related to aggression will be responded with full national resolve and military might,” threatening that “disturbing strategic stability matrix in South Asia can lead to dire consequences”.
“Pakistan Army is fully alive to the threat spectrum and will remain ever ready to perform its part in line with national aspirations,” he warned.Both China and Pakistan which have occupied portions of the erstwhile state of Jammu & Kashmir have aggressively opposed India’s bifurcation of the state into two Union Territories last year.
Though China has already built heavy infrastructure on the occupied territory, it is now suddenly objecting to the infrastructure development work that India has been carrying out on its side of the LAC. (IANS)