US lawmakers back India, slam China for conflictUpdated: Jul 01, 2020 00:07 IST
Bipartisan support for India has been growing among the US lawmakers amid its military standoff with China. Mitch McConnell, the leader of the Republican-dominated US Senate, kicked off a floor debate on next year’s defense budget on Monday by slamming China for “picking deadly fights” with India.
McConnell appealed for the chamber’s bipartisan support to pass the National Defense Authorization Act, 2021, with remarks highlighting recent threats from China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran.
“China has resumed its submarine intrusions into Japanese contiguous zones and picked deadly fights with India at high altitude,” McConnell said.
In a floor speech on June 18, McConnell said the Chinese military appeared to have “instigated the worst violent clash between China and India since those nations went to war way back in 1962.” The clash left 20 Indian soldiers dead on June 15.
Also on Monday, another Republican senator, Marco Rubio, supported India. “Today I spoke to @SandhuTaranjitS to express our solidarity with the people of #India as they firmly confront unwarranted & lawless armed aggression by the Communist Party of #China.” He was referring to a conversation with Taranjit S Sandhu, the Indian ambassador to the US.
“India has made it clear, they will not be bullied by Beijing,” added Rubio, who is a member of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, a congressional panel with oversight of the State Department and the country’s foreign policy.
The State Department has also held Chinese aggression responsible for the borer clashes. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has referred to the clashes several times. “The [Chinese] PLA [People’s Liberation Army] has escalated border tensions--we see it today in India, the world’s most popular, populous democracy,” he said on June 18. He also conveyed his condolences over the killing of the Indian soldiers.
President Donald Trump offered to mediate in May, but the offer was turned down by both countries.
In a TV interview on Sunday, Tom Cotton, a Republican senator, who is a close ally of Trump, denounced China’s aggression on the border with India to illustrate the growing threat Beijing poses to the US and its allies.
“The Chinese Communist Party is certainly using the [Covid-19] pandemic to try to assert claims and take very aggressive action against almost all of its neighbours,” Cotton said. “High up in the Himalayas, China has essentially invaded India, an ally of ours. And they have killed 20 Indian soldiers.”
Cotton referred to China’s violation of its international commitment regarding Hong Kong, aggression against Taiwan, Vietnam, Philippines, and Malaysia. “China is becoming more aggressive than ever. That is why it is so important that we support all of our allies and partners.”
The Democratic-led House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Eliot Engel denounced the Chinese aggression early June before the deadly border clash. “I am extremely concerned by the ongoing Chinese aggression along the Line of Actual Control on the India-China border,” Engel said. “China is demonstrating once again that it is willing to bully its neighbours rather than resolve conflicts according to international law.”
“I am concerned by continued Chinese aggression along its border with India,” Ami Bera, Indian-origin chair of the Asia subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, tweeted.