The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has invaded “contested” border areas at the Sino-Indian border this time “deeper and longer with more people than ever before historically” and this may have been to deliver a “punch in the nose” to India to demonstrate Chinese military superiority, the United States hinted on Friday. The US also said it was “watching the India-China border dispute very closely”.
Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs David Stilwel was quoted by the US State Department as saying, “What we’re doing, we’re obviously watching the India-China border dispute very closely. ... The PLA invaded this contested area deeper and longer, with more people, than ever before historically. Again, whether that was a negotiating tactic or a—just punch in the nose to demonstrate their superiority, I don’t know.”
The US comments follow the deadly clash at the Galwan valley in the Ladakh sector on Monday night between Indian and Chinese troops that resulted in casualties on both sides. Asking Beijing to take “corrective action” after the clash, New Delhi had said Chinese troops “sought to erect a structure in Galwan valley” on the Indian side of the LAC thereby trying to change the status quo, adding that after this became a dispute, Chinese troops then took “pre-meditated and planned action” against Indian soldiers that resulted in violence and casualties.
India had on Wednesday night also dismissed China’s claims over the Galwan valley in the Ladakh sector as “exaggerated and untenable”. New Delhi on Thursday had also reiterated Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statement made on Wednesday that it is committed to ensuring India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Following the clash, both India and China had agreed that the situation would be handled in a “responsible manner” and to implement the disengagement understanding of June 6 sincerely”, adding that “neither side would take any action to escalate matters”.