Reduce tension through direct dialogue, Pentagon urges India, China

Reduce tension through direct dialogue, Pentagon urges India, China

India’s National Security Adviser Doval expected to talk with his Chinese counterpart in Beijing

Washington: The Pentagon has encouraged India and China to engage in a direct dialogue free of any “coercive aspects”.

“We encourage India and China to engage in direct dialogue aimed at reducing tensions and free of any coercive aspects,” Gary Ross, a Defence Department spokesman told PTI.

Over the past week, the US State Department too have been making similar statements, but Pentagon has sought direct dialogue between India and China on reducing tension “free of any coercive aspects”.

Notably, in recent past few years, almost all the Chinese neighbours have been accusing Beijing of coercive tactics to settle border disputes.

The month-long India-China border stand-off in the Sikkim sector is seen as part of same Chinese coercive tactics to change the status quo. India has taken a strong stand against such a Chinese move.

Indian National Security Adviser Ajit Doval’s visit to Beijing for a meeting of NSAs from Brics countries may be key to ease tensions between India and China over the military standoff in Dokalam, a Chinese analyst said.

Doval is scheduled to visit China for the meeting on July 27-28.

The meeting is hosted by his Chinese counterpart and State Councillor Yang Jiechi. It is part of a series of meetings of officials from Brics countries — Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa — ahead of this year’s summit of the five-member bloc of emerging countries in Xiamen city in September.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to attend the summit.

Ma Jiali, a research fellow at the China Reform Forum think-tank, said Doval’s visit may be key and would serve as an opportunity to ease India-China tensions.

Responding to questions, the Pentagon refused to take sides on the issue.

“We refer you to the Governments of India and China for further information. We encourage India and China to engage in direct dialogue aimed at reducing tensions. We are not going to speculate on such matters,” Ross said when asked if the Pentagon fears escalation of tension between India and China.

Early this week, a top Pentagon Commander told lawmakers that China is exploiting its economic leverage as a way to its regional political objectives.

“The Chinese have shown their willingness to exploit their economic leverage as a way to advance their regional political objectives. As China’s military modernisation continues, the United States and its allies and partners will continue to be challenged to balance China’s influence,” General Paul Selva, USAF, said in written response to questions to the Senate Armed Services Committee for his nominee for reconfirmation as Vice-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Selva said deterring war is an exercise in influencing China’s decision calculus, making diplomacy preferable to conflict and managing crises in such a manner that they do not unintentionally escalate.

“To do this, the Joint Force will engage with the Chinese military within Congressionally mandated limits, build alliance capacity through close cooperation, and uphold international law through appropriate operations,” he said in written response to the questions.