As the groundswell of opposition develops against China for its alleged involvement in unleashing the deadly contagion across the world and bungling up its initial handling of coronavirus crisis, many countries around the globe have also raised their voices against China’s imperialistic and expansionist impulses in its neighbourhood.
PM Modi on Friday paid a surprise visit to Ladakh, giving a stern message to China that India will no longer acquiesce to its hegemony and territorial expansionism and resolutely stand up against it along the border. Following PM Modi’s high-voltage visit to the regions close to flashpoints, several countries have come forward to express their support for India.
Here’s the stance that key countries have taken up amidst ongoing India-China standoff:
The United States
The Washington on Friday, in no uncertain terms, pinned the blame for confrontation along the Line of Actual Control in Eastern Ladakh to Chinese “aggression”. The White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany quoted President Trump saying, “China’s aggressive stance along the India-China border dovetails with a larger a pattern of Chinese aggression in other parts of the world and these actions only reveal the true nature of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).”
India had recently placed a ban on 59 Chinese apps, including Tik Tok, for engaging in subversive activities threatening the territorial sovereignty and integrity of the country. Reacting on India’s decision, the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo welcomed the move and said that the Chinese apps served as “appendages of the CCP’s surveillance state”.
French Defense Minister Florence Paley mourned the martyrdom of 20 Indian Armed Forces in Galwan Valley in a letter addressed to the Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh. The French Defense Minister wrote in the letter, “It was an attack against the soldiers, their families and the nation. In these difficult circumstances, I, along with the French Armed Forces, would like to express my firm and friendly support with India.”
France has also considered India’s request to compress the delivery schedule of 36 Rafale jets amidst spiralling tensions with Beijing. The first batch of four to six Rafale fighter jets, armed with Meteor air to air missiles and Scalp cruise missiles, are set to arrive this month-end.
Another important nation which is also a victim of China’s territorial insatiable greed, Japan, has also backed India in the border standoff with China. Japanese ambassador Satoshi Suzuki tweeted about his country’s support to India following a conversation with Indian foreign secretary Harsh Shringla. In a tweet, the ambassador said that Japan opposes “unilateral attempt to change the status quo” on the LAC. He also tweeted that Japan expects a peaceful resolution of the conflict between the country through the process of dialogue.
Japan’s support for India comes at a time when it is embroiled in a dispute with Beijing over Chinese vessels intruding in its territorial waters around Japan’s Senkaku Islands which China claims is part of its territory since ancient times.
Australia, which had been at the forefront of the initiative to launch an impartial investigation to determine the source of coronavirus, which was vehemently opposed by China, signed pacts with India to strengthen the bilateral military ties between the two countries.
The deals were announced after a virtual summit between prime ministers Scott Morrison of Australia and Narendra Modi of India. The new pacts, known as the Australia-India Mutual Logistics Support Arrangement and the Defence Science and Technology Implementing Arrangement, would “share a vision of a free, open, inclusive and rules-based Indo-Pacific region to support the freedom of navigation, over-flight and peaceful and cooperative use of the seas”, Australian PM Scott Morrison said.
The relations between Australia and China are at its nadir after the former pushed for an independent inquiry into the source of the coronavirus outbreak that first emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan. The tensions escalated when China responded with threats of economic coercion, and then placed tariffs on Australian barley and banned beef from four major Australian exporters. The Australian government also witnessed a spate of cyber attacks which the Australian PM termed as “sophisticated” state attack, hinting at the involvement of China’s CCP.
The United Kingdom
The United Kingdom in reference to the border standoff between India and China said that “violence is in no one’s interest”. Britain, which is having its own set of problems with China, over the passage of the new controversial national security act that effectively ends the autonomy of Hong Kong, said that China had committed a “clear and serious breach” of agreement under which Hong Kong was handed over to China in 1997.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had called on India and China to engage in dialogue to resolve their border disputes as he described the escalation in eastern Ladakh as “a very serious and worrying situation” which the UK is closely monitoring.
Though the leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) have refrained from overtly blaming China for the current LAC standoff in Eastern Ladakh fearing retribution, the leaders of the 10 states in the group recently rejected China’s claim to the whole of the South China Sea. The group said that the 1982 UN oceans treaty should not be violated and held as a basis of sovereign rights and entitlements in the disputed waters.
As chair of the 36th ASEAN Summit, Vietnam rubbished the foundations of China’s maritime claims. The Chairman’s Statement said the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea is “the basis for determining maritime entitlements, sovereign rights, jurisdiction and legitimate interests over maritime zones, and the 1982 UNCLOS sets out the legal framework within which all activities in the oceans and seas must be carried out.’