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US says closely watching India-China skirmish at Tawang, UN calls for de-escalation of tensions

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The United States on Wednesday said that it was closely watching the developments at the India-China border and observed that Beijing “continues to amass forces and build military infrastructure along the so-called LAC”.

Pentagon Press Secretary, Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said on Tuesday that China is growingly asserting itself and being proactive in areas directed toward US allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific. “We have seen the PRC (People’s Republic of China) continue to amass forces and build military infrastructure along the so-called LAC. But I would defer you to India in terms of their views. It does reflect the growing trend by the PRC to assert itself and to be provocative in areas directed towards US allies and our partners in the Indo-Pacific,” the Pentagon spokesperson said.

“…We will continue to remain steadfast in our commitment to ensuring the security of our partners. And we fully support India’s ongoing efforts to de-escalate this situation, Brig Gen Ryder said.

It may be recalled that China had objected to last month’s joint India and US special forces exercise at high altitude near Auli district of Uttarakhand. No third party meddling in India-China relations, Beijing had objected.

UN calls for de-escalation

At the same time, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for de-escalation of the tensions between India and China. “We have seen these reports. We call for de-escalation and to ensure that the tensions along in that area do not grow,” spokesperson to UN Secretary-General Stephane Dujarric said to a query on the fresh border clash between the two neighbours at a press briefing.

Defence ministry sources, however, stated that the situation has returned to normal after the Flag March two days after the December 9 face off in Yangste area of Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh though the vigil remains at high alert, with Indian Air Force also getting into combat mode for surveillance and securing skies.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday told Parliament that Chinese troops had attempted to transgress the LAC at Yangtse area in Tawang sector to “unilaterally change the status quo” but were given a firm and resolute response forcing the Chinese side to retreat.

Singh said the face-off led to a physical scuffle that led to injuries to a few personnel on both sides but “there was no fatalities or serious casualties” to Indian soldiers. “The Chinese side was asked to refrain from such actions and maintain peace and tranquility along the border. The issue has also been taken up with the Chinese side through diplomatic channels,” the minister told both the Houses.



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