Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday mentioned about the military standoff with China along Line of Actual Control (LAC) during 2+2 India-US inter-ministerial talk saying New Delhi is challenged by “reckless aggression” on the northern border.
According to the transcription of the opening remarks posted on the US State Department website, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said, “Excellencies, our partnership has been strengthened by the challenges we are mutually facing.”
Besides Singh, the dialogue was attended by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, US State Secretary Mike Pompeo and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.
During a joint media interaction after the meeting, Pompeo referred to the sacrifice of 20 Indian soldiers who were killed in a clash with Chinese troops in Galwan Valley in June this year and assured that Washington will stand with New Delhi as the latter confronts threats to its sovereignty and liberty.
“We visited the National War Memorial to honour brave men and women of Indian armed forces who sacrificed for the world’s largest democracy, including 20 killed by PLA in Galwan Valley. The US will stand with India as they confront threats to their sovereignty, liberty,” Pompeo said in the presence of US Defence Secretary Mark Esper, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.
“US and India are taking steps to strengthen our cooperation against all manner of threats and not just those posed by the Chinese Communist Party. Last year, we’ve expanded our cooperation on cyber issues and our navies have held joint exercises in the Indian ocean,” Pompeo added.
India and China are locked in a standoff since May along the eastern border. Several rounds of military and diplomatic talks between India and China remain inconclusive.
The 19th meeting of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs (WMCC) was held on September 30.
This was followed by the 7th meeting of Senior Commanders in Chushul on October 12.
With winter setting in, Indian forces are preparing for a long haul and New Delhi is also working on improving the border infrastructure.