Updated: June 2, 2020 7:27:20 am
In the first comments from Capitol Hill on the ongoing tension along the India-China border, a top US Congressman — who heads the powerful House panel on Foreign affairs — has expressed “concern”, called China a “bully”, and “strongly” urged China to “respect norms and use diplomacy” to resolve its border questions with India.
In a statement late on Monday night, US Congress’ House Committee chair Eliot L Engel said, “I am extremely concerned by the ongoing Chinese aggression along the Line of Actual Control on the India-China border.”
“China is demonstrating once again that it is willing to bully its neighbours rather than resolve conflicts according to international law. Countries must all abide by the same set of rules so that we don’t live in a world where “might makes right,” he said.
“I strongly urge China to respect norms and use diplomacy and existing mechanisms to resolve its border questions with India.”
— House Foreign Affairs Committee (@HouseForeign) June 1, 2020
Engel, an influential Democrat Congressman, has long been a supporter of India. However, External Affairs minister S Jaishankar had cancelled a meeting with Engel and other Congress members in Washington DC last December, over Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal’s inclusion into the delegation.
In July last year, after US President Donald Trump had falsely claimed that PM Narendra Modi had asked him to mediate on Kashmir, Engel had spoken with then Indian ambassador to the US Harsh Vardhan Shringla.
“Engel reiterated his support for the longstanding US position on the Kashmir dispute, saying he supported dialogue between India and Pakistan, but reaffirmed that the dialogue’s pace and scope can only be determined by India and Pakistan,” he had said in a statement.
During the call, Engel “reaffirmed that in order for dialogue to be meaningful, Pakistan must first take concrete and irreversible steps to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure” on its soil, the statement had said.
Last week, on May 29, Trump had claimed that he spoke to PM Modi about the India-China border, but sources in New Delhi said there has been “no recent contact” between the two leaders and the last conversation took place almost two months ago, on April 4.
Trump had claimed that he had spoken to Modi, who was “not in a good mood” about what’s going on with China. The US President made those remarks in response to questions at the White House.
“They have a big conflict going with India and China. Two countries with 1.4 billion people. Two countries with very powerful militaries. And India is not happy, and probably China is not happy. But I can tell you, I did speak to Prime Minister Modi. He’s not — he’s not in a good mood about what’s going on with China,” the US President had said.
That had been the only comment so far from the US on the ongoing India-China border tension.
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