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Sunday, April 11, 2021

Indo-China row: What’s on Trump’s mind, help or harm?

As the border row between India and China continues, we’ve seen the US has been volunteering to resolve the crisis. US President Donald Trump has sought to play the mediator’s role since tensions between the two neighbors escalated. But does Trump really want to help?

Washington is trying to help India to come out of a “very tough situation”, Trump has said recently. He also overlooked the rejection of his offer by both India and China.

We all know that Trump is quite famous for making unilateral claims on issues. And “Nobody knows more” than Trump about anything! While Trump has spoken about offering help twice so far, the US department too has declared that they are monitoring the situation between the two Southasian nuclear powers. Why is the US volunteering to resolve the Indo-China row? Is it an attempt to fish in troubled waters?

Let’s understand the issue through 2 major schools of thoughts

YES, siding with the US will prove beneficial for India in solving the border tensions with China

1. According to experts, China is reportedly trying to emerge as the new global superpower and therefore, it is vital for the US and India to join hands to thwart China’s free run. It means that China’s coercive attempts in its neighborhood, especially in East and South China sea could be curbed to a large extent if India sides with the West.

2. As per a New York Times report, China is already facing criticism and new scrutiny over its alleged casual approach in handling the coronavirus pandemic. Many believe that China suppressed important facts about the virus’s nature that led to the worldwide situation to be devastating. At this juncture, if India joined hands with the US, it would serve the interests of both sides and diminish the dragon’s arrogant approach in the borders.

3. According to another school of thought, India can take on China, only with the US’s financial and tech support. Accepting the US mediation can start a era for an improved US-India relationship. Taking the US aid will benefit India to come up as a strong and democratic power in the Southasian region. It will reduce India’s tensions with the neighbouring Nepal and Pakistan to a fair extent as well.

NO, India should stick to bilateral talks only and NOT accept Trump’s offer

1. The US’s offer to mediate and pacify tensions between India and China is nothing new. Right from Bill Clinton to Barack Obama, all tried to extend help and even thought of sending a special envoy to initiate talks between the two neighbors. India has always followed the path of bilateral talks as per the Simla Agreement of 1972. However, the US’s offer to help in the context of LAC tension with China is new. India has assessed the ground situations before taking its own stand that the bilateral approach works best. Therefore, it should stick to the strategy it used in the past.

2. For many, taking the US’s help may show India in a bad light. It means if Modi accepts Trump’s offer to be a mediator, it might seem that India is incapable of handling its own crises and therefore dependent upon a third party to resolve the matter.

3. According to another group of experts, the US is trying to save its own interest by offering its help to India. For years, the US and its allies have been trying to persuade India to side with them to counter China’s ambitions and its autocratic rule. Therefore, the US is using India to fulfill its own goals. With China showing aggression on the border, western diplomats feel that the US’s goal to have India closer to the West has already started to be materialised.

However, assessing the intention behind Trump’s offer to his “good friend” Modi is risky. With varied opinions, it is hard to understand, especially for a commoner whether the US offer to extend support is a boon or bane. All we hope for is that India doesn’t sacrifice its own ground or interest.


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