The United States is closely monitoring the India-China standoff in Ladakh, shares information with New Delhi and wants to ensure the situation does not escalate, senior Trump administration officials said on Saturday ahead of a major visit. from the US Secretary of State. Mike Pompeo and US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper next week.
The United States said it welcomed India’s growing involvement in Southeast Asia, including its military presence in the South China Sea, and was working with like-minded partners to counter “China’s aggressive behavior” from the Himalayas to the disputed ocean region.
“We have had an ongoing dialogue with the Indians on increased cooperation in Southeast Asia, and not just in the South China Sea. And we encourage their involvement and that transcends development investments, which transcends security cooperation and which also involves presence and therefore we welcome greater Indian participation across South East Asia in these three areas. ” US officials said at an online news briefing.
“With China’s increasingly aggressive behavior across the Indo-Pacific, from the Himalayas to the South China Sea, it is more important than ever that we work with like-minded partners,” like India. We were pleased to see the recent announcement from India regarding Australia’s accession to the Malabar Naval Exercise, ”they said.
On the tension in eastern Ladakh which peaked in June this year in a clash that left 20 Indian soldiers dead and an unknown number of Chinese casualties, the United States said: “In As a government, we are covering the situation in the Himalayas closely and in an understandable way. And we certainly want to make sure the situation doesn’t escalate. “
We provide support, whether through defense sales, exercises … as well as information sharing. These are all areas in which we are cooperating with Indians, not just with the tension in the Himalayas, ”US officials said.
“The defense relationship with India is at its best in recent memory. The progress we have made since India became a major defense partner in 2016 is remarkable, ”they added.
On the agenda for the 2 + 2 talks at the foreign and defense ministers’ level next week, the United States said topics to be covered include regional security cooperation, defense information sharing , interactions between the military and defense trade.