June 18, 2020 2:15:29 am
A day after the killing of 20 Indian Army personnel in clashes with the Chinese army was announced by the Indian government, key members of the global community — US, UK, Russia and the EU — responded cautiously to the clashes at the India-China border.
While the US said it supported a “peaceful resolution of the current situation”, Russia “welcomed steps aimed at de-escalation” and remained “optimistic”, the UK “encouraged China and India to engage in dialogue” and the EU “encouraged both sides to show restraint and to engage in military de-escalation”.
There was no condemnation of the killing of 20 Indian soldiers by any of the countries.
While some in New Delhi viewed these statements as being “neutral”, each of these countries have a bilateral relationship with China and geo-political considerations to keep in mind before they comment on the border clash between Indian and Chinese armies.
Also, there was silence from India’s neighbours — as has been the practice during previous border stand-offs, including Doklam crisis of 2017.
From the Indian perspective, there was no coercive diplomacy at play after 24 hours. However, India has always been restrained in briefing foreign ambassadors in the past, when it comes to border stand-offs with China.
The US State department spokesperson said in a statement, “We are closely monitoring the situation between Indian and Chinese forces along the LAC. We note the Indian military has announced that 20 soldiers have died, and we offer our condolences to their families. Both India and China have expressed a desire to de-escalate, and we support a peaceful resolution of the current situation…”
Russian ambassador Nikolay Kudashev tweeted, “We welcome all steps aimed at de-escalation at the #LAC, including the conversation between the two FMs, and remain optimistic.”
According to Russian news agency TASS, Russian presidential spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Wednesday that Kremlin is concerned over the clash but believes the two countries could resolve this conflict themselves. He emphasised that China and India are Russia’s close partners and allies.
Moscow welcomes the contacts of New Delhi and Beijing on de-escalation of tension on the LAC, said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov following a special video meeting with ASEAN Foreign Ministers. Asked about the possibility of discussing this at the June 22 video conference of foreign ministers of Russia, India and China, he said: “The agenda does not involve discussing issues that relate to bilateral relations of a country with another member of this format.”
A British High Commission spokesperson said in New Delhi, “We encourage China and India to engage in dialogue on issues relating to the border – violence is in no one’s interest.”
UN chief Antonio Guterres expressed concern over reports of violence and deaths at the LAC and urged both sides to exercise “maximum restraint”, his spokesperson said in New York.
EU Foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said, “In light of recent worrying developments along the LAC between India and China, the EU encourages both sides to show restraint and to engage in military de-escalation… We trust that both the Indian and Chinese authorities will look to continue their dialogue in order to find peaceful solutions to their differences.”
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