In response to US President Donald Trump’s offer to mediate between Delhi and Beijing over tensions along the Line of Actual Control , India Thursday said it is already engaged with China to “peacefully resolve” the issue.
“We are engaged with China to peacefully resolve this issue,” said the Ministry of External Affairs’ official spokesperson Anurag Srivastava.
The MEA spokesperson, however, refrained from addressing the US President’s tweet, and also did not reject any third-party mediation as it had done in the past.
“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,” Trump had said in a tweet.
In the past, Trump had offered to mediate between India and Pakistan over Kashmir, but this is the first time that he has made such an offer to India and China. On July 22 last year, Trump had mentioned for the first time his willingness to “help” and “mediate” between India and Pakistan over Kashmir — an offer that was rejected by the MEA, which reiterated New Delhi’s stated position that the issue can only be discussed bilaterally.
Since then, Trump has repeated the offer on Kashmir, with a “if both sides want” rider, about half-a-dozen times, and has been politely told no each time — once even by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the G-7 summit in Biarritz in France last August.
Meanwhile, talking about the tensions along the LAC, the MEA spokesperson said: “Our troops have taken a very responsible approach towards border management and strictly follow procedures laid out in bilateral agreements and protocols with China to resolve any issue that may arise in border areas.”
The MEA spokesperson also said the two sides have “established mechanisms–both military and at diplomatic levels– to resolve situations which may arise in the border areas peacefully through dialogue, adding that India remains firm in its resolve to ensure the country’s sovereignty and national security.”
He also said that the Indian armed forces “scrupulously follow the consensus reached by our leaders and the guidance provided”, while referring to the decisions at the Wuhan and the Mahabalipuram summits between PM Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
“At the same time, we remain firm in our resolve to ensuring India’s sovereignty and national security,” he said.
Earlier this week, China had said that the situation at the border with India was “overall stable and controllable”.
“Between the two countries, we have good border-related mechanism and communication channels. We are capable of resolving the issues properly through dialogue and consultation,” China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian had said.
The remarks from China’s Foreign Ministry came a day after President Xi broke his silence on the escalating tensions along the LAC and ordered the military to scale up battle preparedness and asked it to resolutely defend the country’s sovereignty.
So far, several rounds of talks have been held between Indian and Chinese military commanders in Ladakh on the ground have failed to achieve a breakthrough.
Chinese and Indian military have set up camps on either side of the Galwan Valley in the high-altitude Ladakh region. The troops of the two nations came to blows on the banks of the Pangong Tso, a lake which is partly under Indian control, on the night of May 5-6. Sources said Chinese soldiers have crossed the LAC at three places.