NEW DELHI: While US belligerence against China was on expected lines, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh sharp rebuke of the neighbour for its “reckless aggression on our northern borders”, in his opening address at the 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue on Tuesday, became one of the day’s talking points.
“Excellencies, in the area of defense we are challenged by reckless aggression on our northern borders,” a State Department release after the bilateral dialogue quoted Singh as saying. However, a statement issued by the Ministry of Defence made no such mention.
Predictably, visiting US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was more upfront while slamming China.
“We paid our respect to the soldiers who laid down their lives in the Galwan Valley recently. The US will stand with India in its efforts to defend its sovereignty and its liberty... Our nations are committed to working together into expanding our partnerships across many fronts,” Pompeo said after the talks.
India and China have been involved in a stand-off along the Line of Actual Control with tensions peaking after 20 Indian soldiers were killed by Chinese troops in Galwan Valley of Ladakh on June 15.
Pompeo said a robust discussion has been set off about the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) due to the pandemic ‘that came from Wuhan’.
“Our leaders and our citizens see with increasing clarity that the CCP is no friend to democracy, the rule of law, transparency nor the freedom of navigation, the foundation of a free and open and prosperous Indo-Pacific,” he said.
‘Containing China threat shared goal’
“One of the many shared strategic convergences bringing the United States and India together is their commitment to containing the rising Chinese threat through common goals such as a Free and Open Indo- Pacific, freedom of navigation of the seas, and a rules based system. Chinese aggressions in the maritime space as well as the line of actual control (LAC) is noted by the world and the US administration openly stating their support to India during the India-China stand-off is an extension of US regional and security interests,” Kriti Upadhayaya, researcher at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies said.