The U.S. feels China has not taken any “good faith steps” to resolve the conflict along the Line of Actual Control and is continuing its “aggressive moves”, said senior U.S. official Donald Lu, during a visit to Delhi where he held talks with officials of the Ministry of External Affairs.
Although the U.S. has said that India and China should resolve through direct negotiations the “border conflict” that has been escalating since China amassed troops along the LAC in April 2020, the official said it was the U.S. assessment that China has not made positive moves in that direction, referring specifically to the recently attempted incursions by PLA soldiers in Arunachal Pradesh’s Tawang region in December.
Mr. Lu, who addressed the India-U.S. Forum during the visit, also disclosed that National Security Advisor Ajit Doval will travel to the U.S. later this month for high-level talks on critical and emerging technology, including Indo-U.S. cooperation on quantum computing, artificial intelligence (AI), 5G-telecommunication networks and bio-technology. Mr. Lu’s talks in Delhi was in preparation for the NSA talks as well as the upcoming visit of U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken to India in March to attend the G-20 Foreign Minister’s meeting and the annual Raisina Dialogue conference hosted by the MEA.
“We have not seen that the PRC (People’s Republic of China) has taken good faith steps to resolve the border conflict. Quite the opposite, we have seen aggressive Chinese moves along India’s border, most recently in India’s North Eastern States,” Mr. Lu, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, said in an interview to the NDTV.
“In 2020, when the Chinese military attacked an Indian border post in the Galwan valley, the U.S. was the first to criticise Chinese aggression and to offer support to India,” he added.
The comments also come months after China reacted sharply to similar comments by the Commander of U.S. Army Pacific General Charles A. Flynn, who had referred to PLA moves in its region as “destabilising and coercive behaviour” on an “incremental and insidious path”. The then-Chinese MFA spokesperson Zhao Lijian, who has since been posted as Deputy Director General of Border Affairs, had said that the U.S. was “trying to add fuel to fire” and called Gen. Flynn’s comments “despicable”.
The MEA did not comment on the issue.
When asked about the continued delay in sending a U.S. Ambassador to India, a post that has not been filled for more than two years, Mr. Lu blamed the U.S. “system” of senate confirmations, adding that with former Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti being re-nominated by U.S. President Biden last week, he was confident that there would be a U.S. ambassador in India “very soon”.