WASHINGTON: China has been acting in contradiction to its agreements with India to change the status quo and challenge Indian troops at the border, an influential bipartisan Congressional Caucus has said and hoped that Beijing will scale back on their excessive weaponry and infrastructure at the Line of Actual Control.
The Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans on Thursday also expressed their condolences for the lives lost in the Galwan Valley.
The troops of India and China are locked in an over eight-week standoff in several areas in eastern Ladakh including Pangong Tso, Galwan Valley and Gogra Hot Spring since May 5. The situation deteriorated last month following the Galwan Valley clashes that left 20 Indian Army personnel dead.
“As members of the Caucus on India and Indian Americans, we are extremely disappointed by the events that took place at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Galwan Valley area on June 15,” congressmen George Holding and Brad Sherman, co-chairmen of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans said in a statement on Thursday.
The House of Representatives Caucus on India and Indian Americans, led by congressmen Holding and Sherman in a letter to India’s Ambassador to the US, Taranjit Singh Sandhu, said that over the last few months, the Chinese authorities have been acting with impunity and have attempted to transgress on the LAC, which resulted in diplomatic discussions to implement a process for de-escalation along the LAC on June 6.
The letter was signed by seven other lawmakers.
“Only nine days after the agreement, the Chinese attempted to build new infrastructure on the Indian side of the LAC, the letter said.
“Dissatisfied with your government’s response, the Chinese troops disregarded the recently implemented disengagement process and erupted in premeditated violence, which resulted in the death of 20 Indian soldiers,” it said.
The bipartisan letter was signed by four members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, two members of the House Armed Services Committee and one each from the House intelligence, judiciary and agricultural committees.
“We offer our condolences to the families of the fallen soldiers, and we will keep them in our thoughts and prayers. We are disappointed that China has been acting in contradiction to their agreements with India, in their attempt to change the status quo and challenge Indian troops at the border,” the letter said.
“It is my hope that they scale back on their excessive weaponry and infrastructure at the Line of Actual Control and uphold both their longstanding and new-founded agreements with India,” said the letter.
The letter among others was signed by congressmen Ro Khanna, Joe Wilson, Raja Krishnamoorthi, Steve Chabot, Pramila Jayapal, Ted Yoho and T J Cox.
Over the last few weeks, bipartisan support for India against China has been increasing.
A day earlier, Senator Bob Menendez, Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said US-India partnership, based on their shared commitment to democracy, is vital to uphold international law, international norms and the institutions that can peacefully and diplomatically resolve disputes and aggression.
“As India and China work to disengage along the Line of Actual Control, I remain deeply concerned by China’s aggressive behaviour in territorial disputes,” Menendez said.
“From the 2017 Doklam standoff to the recent violence along the borders in Sikkim and Ladakh, to China’s new claims to Bhutanese territory, Beijing has all too often sought to redraw the map of Asia without regard for its neighbours,” he said.
Last month, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that for the sake of grabbing territory, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) appears to have instigated the most violent clash between China and India since those nations went to war in 1962.
“I am extremely concerned by the ongoing Chinese aggression along the Line of Actual Control on the India-China border,” said congressman Eliot Engel, Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs last month.
“China is demonstrating once again that it is willing to bully its neighbours rather than resolve conflicts according to international law,” Engel said.
Top Republican Senator Marco Rubio also called recently India’s Ambassador to the US to express his solidarity with the people of India as they firmly confront unwarranted and lawless armed aggression by the Communist Party of China.
“India has made it clear, they will not be bullied by Beijing,” he said.
Senator Tom Cotton slammed China of its aggression against India.