US wishes India luck with ‘structural issues’ in strained China ties

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WASHINGTON: The United States wishes India well in its efforts to improve strained ties with China, the number two US diplomat said on Wednesday (June 12), while cautioning that Chinese leader Xi Jinping finds it very hard to show any flexibility on territorial issues.

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Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said on June 11 after assuming office for a second straight term that India would focus on finding solutions to border issues with China that have long strained ties between the neighbours.

US Deputy Secretary of State Kurt Campbell, who has led US efforts to boost ties with India to push back against China’s growing power, was asked at a Washington think-tank about Jaishankar’s comments.

“I think the truth is that anytime two countries can find a degree of the common space to reduce tensions, I think we have to support that,” he said.

“I think we wish the Indians well in deliberations,” he added, before going on to say that Washington was “very confident and comfortable” about its own bilateral relationship with India “and we want that to continue going forward”.

Campbell said he would be in India next week with Jake Sullivan, the US national security adviser, to “advance areas of coordination”.

“I think we feel very good about this partnership,” he said, while adding: “I think there are some structural issues between China and India that frankly will be difficult to resolve.”

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Campbell said he believed that for any rapprochement, or substantial improvement in relations with China, India would expect changes in how Beijing treats their contested borders.

“One of the things that we’ve seen under Xi Jinping on anything that bridges, or touches, territorial matters, I think it’s very hard for the Chinese to show any flexibility, or any desire to find common ground,” he said.

India and China share a 3,800km border – much of it poorly demarcated – over which the nuclear-armed nations fought a war in 1962. They have engaged in a military stand-off since July 2020, when at least 20 Indian soldiers and four Chinese troops were killed in the worst clashes in five decades.

Washington has sought to develop its ties with India in spite of some differences over issues including human rights.

-Reuters

-TheStar


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