In its first response to the China-India border standoff, the Biden administration has voiced concern over Beijing’s ongoing attempts to “intimidate” its neighbours and said it was closely monitoring the situation.
A top official of the new Biden administration also asserted that the U.S. will stand with its allies to advance its shared values in the strategically-vital Indo-Pacific region.
“We are closely monitoring the situation. We note the ongoing talks between the governments of India and China and continue to support a direct dialogue and a peaceful resolution to border disputes,” Emily J. Horne, spokesperson, National Security Council (NSC) of the White House, told PTI on Monday.
She was responding to a question on recent Chinese attempts to intrude into Indian territories and occupy it.
“The United States is concerned by Beijing’s pattern of ongoing attempts to intimidate its neighbours,” Ms. Horne said.
“We will stand with friends, partners and allies to advance our shared prosperity, security and values in the Indo-Pacific region,” she added.
This is the first response of the Biden administration on the India-China border clashes. Former Vice-President Joe Biden, a Democrat, was inaugurated as the 46th U.S. President on January 20.
China and India are locked in a military standoff in eastern Ladakh since May 5 last. The two countries have held several rounds of military and diplomatic talks to resolve the face-off, but no significant headway has been made so far.
The evolving situation in the Indo-Pacific region in the wake of China’s increasing military muscle flexing has become a major talking point among leading global powers. The U.S. has been favouring making Quad a security architecture to check China’s growing assertiveness.
China is engaged in hotly contested territorial disputes in the South and East China Seas. Beijing has also made substantial progress in militarising its man-made islands in the past few years.
Beijing claims sovereignty over all of the South China Sea. But Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, Brunei and Taiwan have counterclaims. In the East China Sea, China has territorial disputes with Japan.
The South China Sea and the East China Sea are stated to be rich in minerals, oil and other natural resources. They are also vital to global trade. Although the U.S. lays no claims to the disputed waters, it has challenged China’s growing territorial claims in the South China Sea by deploying warships and fighter jets to assert freedom of navigation and overflight patrols in the strategically-vital region.
Addressing a joint session of Parliament, President Ram Nath Kovind last week said India had strengthened its military presence at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) along the two countries’ shared border to protect its sovereignty.
“My government is fully committed to the protection of the interests of the nation and is also vigilant. Additional forces have been deployed to protect India’s sovereignty over the LAC,” Mr. Kovind said.