India, China reinforce flashpoint amid tension | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, June 27, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:51 AM, June 27, 2020

Ladakh Stand-off

India, China reinforce flashpoint amid tension

  • Pompeo says US shifting military to face Chinese threat to India and Southeast Asia
  • Pakistan condemns India's expulsion of diplomats at 'delicate' time after China clash


India has acknowledged for the first time that it has matched China in massing troops at their contested Himalayan border region after a deadly clash this month.

But India's foreign ministry accused China of causing the tensions by starting military deployments, and warned relations between the world's two most populous nations could be undermined if the standoff continues.

The neighbours have blamed each other for a June 15 battle in the Ladakh region in which 20 Indian soldiers were killed while China suffered an unknown number of casualties.

While each has said it wants to de-escalate the territorial showdown, India's foreign ministry spokesman Anurag Srivastava on Thursday said "both sides remain deployed in large numbers in the region, while military and diplomatic contacts are continuing".

Srivastava said "Chinese actions" on the unofficial border, known as the Line of Actual Control (LAC), led to this month's deadly fight with rocks and batons. No shots were fired.

"At the heart of the matter is that since early May, the Chinese side has been amassing a large contingent of troops and armaments along the LAC," the spokesman charged. He added that China had obstructed India's patrols in contravention of accords made to avoid skirmishes between their armies, who fought a border war in 1962 and have regularly clashed since.

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the Chinese threat to India and Southeast Asia is one of the reasons the United States is reducing its troop presence in Europe.

Pompeo was asked why the US had reduced the number of troops it has based in Germany.  Speaking about the Chinese threat, he cited the "bloody border confrontation with India," Beijing's South China Sea activity and its predatory economic policies as evidence.

The actions of the Chinese Communist Party meant there were "threats to India" and countries such as Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and the South China Sea. The US military is "postured appropriately" to meet these "challenges of our time", he said.

Meanwhile, Pakistan has accused India of trying to distract the attention of its people by expelling Pakistani diplomats after the border clashes.

"Things have deteriorated, things are very delicate," Qureshi told Reuters in an interview at his ministry in Islamabad late on Thursday. Qureshi said he was concerned that India could try to get Pakistan involved in the regional tensions with a "false flag operation" - an incident staged to provide a pretext for action.

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