The recent stand-off between Indian and Chinese armies at Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh is among the multiple fronts opened by China because of Beijing's assessment that the world is distracted due to COVID-19 pandemic and it could take advantage of it, an US diplomat said on Thursday.
Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, David Stilwell, made this observation at a press conference during a conference call, in which he added that the US is watching the India-China border dispute very closely
Talking about the recent India-China stand-off in eastern Ladakh area, he said, "...one explanation for creating multiple fronts like this is an assessment in Beijing that the world is distracted and is focused entirely on survival, right, recovering from the corona pandemic, which then possibly is seen as an opportunity to take advantage of the distraction."
"This activity (Chinese incursion) is similar to the activity we have seen in the past on border disputes with the PRC, and again, I would point you to those - I think it was 2015 when Xi Jinping travelled to India the first time," Stilwell added.
The United States has been watching the India-China border dispute very closely, he added.
Talking about the previous India and China standoff in Doklam, he said, "...then we saw the Doklam issue down near Bhutan, where we saw similar concerns. I wish I knew. Again, we do not have a lot of visibility and we do not have a lot of open dialogue with our Chinese counterparts."
On the night of June 15-16, 20 Indian soldiers were killed in a clash with Chinese soldiers in the Galwan Valley of Ladakh as a result of an attempt by the Chinese troops to unilaterally change the status quo during de-escalation process.
Chinese troops too recorded a significant number of casualities.