The United States is watching the India-China standoff in Ladakh closely, sharing information with New Delhi, and wants to ensure the situation does not escalate, senior officials of the Trump administration said on Saturday, ahead of an important visit by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the US Secretary of Defence Mark Esper next week, reported NDTV.
On tension in eastern Ladakh that peaked in June this year in a clash that left 20 Indian troopers dead and an unspecified number of Chinese casualties, the US said: “We as a government are covering the situation in the Himalayas closely and understandably. And we certainly want to ensure that the situation does not escalate.”
”We are providing support, whether through defence sales, exercises… as well as information sharing. These are all areas where we cooperate with the Indians, not just with the tension in the Himalayas,” US officials said.
The US said it welcomes increased Indian involvement in Southeast Asia including its military presence in the South China Sea and has been working with like-minded partners to counter “China’s aggressive behaviour” from the Himalayas to the disputed oceanic region.
“Given China’s increasingly aggressive behaviour across the Indo-Pacific from the Himalayas to the South China Sea, it is more important than ever that we work with like-minded partners such as India. We were pleased to see India’s recent announcement regarding Australia joining the Malabar Naval exercise,” they said.
“This agreement will allow for expanded geospatial information sharing between our armed forces. We are also seeking to expand secure communication capabilities between our respective militaries as well as between our foreign defence ministries and that figures prominently in what we are trying to accomplish in the information-sharing space,” they added.