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Trump offers to mediate in China-India showdown in Ladakh

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Message Abdus-Sattar Ghazali
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President Donald Trump offered on Wednesday (May 27) to mediate in what he called a "raging" border showdown between India and China in the Himalayas.

Trump, who has sought closer ties with India in recent years while also being involved in a tense trade showdown with China, made his offer in a Twitter statement. "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!" he said.

Trump's offer came after Indian military sources said hundreds of Chinese troops had moved into a disputed zone along with 3,500-km-long frontier in India-administered Kashmir's Ladakh region.

Two weeks ago several Indian and Chinese troops were hurt during fistfights and stone-throwing in another sector. India unilaterally declared Ladakh region a federal territory while separating it from disputed Kashmir in August 2019.

China was among the handful of countries to strongly condemn the move, raising it at international forums including the UN Security Council.

India and China fought a war over India's northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh in 1962. China still claims some 90,000 sq km of territory under New Delhi's control.

While no shot has been fired across their border for more than four decades, there have been numerous face-offs.

Intelligence report The Wire reported Indian intelligence sources as saying:

1. After the snows melted, starting in the third week of April, the Chinese side opened six active fronts - at Galwan, Pangong, Demchok, Naku La and 14 km east of Doklam in Bhutanese territory.

2. The Chinese action is not an accident or happenstance, it is clearly by design. The Indian Army and ITBP are being "pushed back, kilometre by kilometre". It seems that in a month almost 35 square kilometres have been "lost" this way in a month.

3. The plan may include compromising the Indian presence from NJ9842 - the last demarcated point on the India-Pakistan Line of Control, up the Siachen Glacier to the Karakoram Pass.

4. When India moves troops to this section, as it has, the Pakistan Army is expected to begin pin pricks, thus opening up a challenge for India on two fronts.

The Wire also said that Indian TV networks were advised by the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi not to discuss Chinese incursion into Ladakh.

According to Ashok Swain, Professor of Peace and Conflict Research, Uppsala University, Sweden, Indian Army being "pushed back, kilometre by kilometre" by Chines forces. It seems that in a month almost 35 sq km have been "lost" to China this way in a month. But, India's 'nationalist TV anchors' have been told to stay away from this topic.

So far, all the Modi government has said on the record is that China has "hindered" routine Indian patrolling.

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Author and journalist. Author of Islamic Pakistan: Illusions & Reality; Islam in the Post-Cold War Era; Islam & Modernism; Islam & Muslims in the Post-9/11 America. Currently working as free lance journalist. Executive Editor of American (more...)
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