US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he has offered to mediate a standoff between India and China at the Himalayan border.
“We have informed both India and China that the US is ready, willing and able to mediate or arbitrate their now raging border dispute,” Trump said in a Twitter post.
We have informed both India and China that the United States is ready, willing and able to mediate or arbitrate their now raging border dispute. Thank you!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 27, 2020
The standoff was triggered by India’s construction of roads and air strips in the region as it competes with China’s spreading Belt and Road initiative, Indian observers said on Tuesday.
It was reported Tuesday that China is expanding its high-altitude airbase near Ladakh, the site of some recent border skirmishes with India, according to India’s NDTV.
“Satellite images show massive construction activity at a high-altitude Chinese air base, located just 200 kilometers away from the Pangong Lake, the site of the skirmish between forces of India and China on May 5 and May 6,” the report said.
Several Indian and Chinese soldiers were injured in clash involving fistfights and stone-throwing at a remote but strategically important mountain pass near Tibet, the Indian Army said.
“Aggressive behavior by the two sides resulted in minor injuries to troops. It was stone-throwing and arguments that ended in a fistfight,” Indian Army Eastern Command spokesman Mandeep Hooda told AFP.
Meanwhile, Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Tuesday that China would step up its preparedness for armed combat and improve its ability to carry out military tasks as the coronavirus pandemic is having a profound impact on national security, Reuters reported citing state television.