India, China on WAR path, America nervous

National | Aug. 12, 2017, 11:35 p.m.

Washington: The standoff  between India and China in Doklam of the Sikkim section is a matter of concern, a top American commander has said and asked the two sides to work together and resolve the issue diplomatically.India and China have been locked in a face-off in the Doklam area for more than 50 days after Indian troops stopped the Chinese People's Liberation Army from building a road in the area.

Admiral Harry B Harris, commander of the US Pacific Command, echoed the State Department's view that the US encourages the two countries to resolve their differences diplomatically.

"Well, I think that any time you have two great powers at odds across a common border, that's an area of concern. Of course, it's potentially dangerous," he told PTI when asked about the Doklam standoff.

"But I think that I would echo those sentiments of our own government leaders, America's national leadership, that we encourage both India and China to engage in diplomacy, to help reduce these tensions," he said.

When asked if in Doklam China is repeating the pattern it has been following in the South China Sea to change the status quo, Harris said it is for India to make a determination in this regard.

"I think that's a determination that India is going to have to make itself. I don't want to speak for India, and I certainly don't want to speculate on what might happen. I think this is a dispute, as it stands now, and that India and China must work out together. Hopefully peacefully," Admiral Harris said.

Harris also said China's actions in the South and East China seas are "coercive" to its neighbours.

"I believe that their (Chinese) actions in the East China Sea and the South China Sea are aggressive...And they are coercive to their neighbours," h

India is "behaving like a mature power" in the Doklam standoff in the Sikkim section and making China look like an adolescent throwing a tamper tantrum, a top American defence expert has said.

India and China have been locked in a face-off in the Doklam area for the last 50 days after Indian troops stopped the Chinese People's Liberation Army from building a road in the area.

Praising India's behaviour over the matter, James R Holmes, professor of strategy at the prestigious US Naval War College, said, "New Delhi has done things right thus far, neither backing away from the dispute nor replying in kind to Beijing's over-the-top rhetoric."

"It is behaving as the mature power and making China look like the adolescent throwing a temper tantrum," Holmes said.

Holmes said it was 'weird' that China wanted to keep alive a boundary dispute with its most formidable neighbour.

"If China wants to pursue an assertive maritime strategy, it needs secure borders on land so it doesn't have to worry about overland aggression from its neighbours," Holmes said.

"In other words, confronting India in the Himalayas is not a purely rational course of action driven by rational cost/benefit analysis," said the professor from the US Naval War College.

When asked why the US has remained silent so far on this issue, he said the current administration has too much on its plate.

"It's also possible Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi and his advisers don't want the United States involved in a Himalayan dispute it has little way of influencing. If the dispute escalates, chances are Washington will come out in support of New Delhi," Holmes said



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