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US secretary of state Mike Pompeo condoles death of Indian soldiers in face-off with Chinese troops

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks to the media outside the West Wing at the White House in Washington, D.C., on October 18, 2018. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)

The United States secretary of state Mike Pompeo has condoled the death of the 20 Indian Army soldiers, who were killed in the recent face-off with Chinese troops in Galwan Valley of eastern Ladakh.

“We extend our deepest condolences to the people of India for the lives lost as a result of the recent confrontation with China. We will remember the soldiers’ families, loved ones, and communities as they grieve,” Pompeo tweeted.

Before this, the US said it is “closely monitoring” the situation between India and China after a violent face-off between troops of the two countries at the Line of Actual Control and had extended support to a peaceful resolution of the current situation.

“We are closely monitoring the situation between Indian and Chinese forces along the Line of Actual Control. Both India and China have expressed a desire to de-escalate, and we support a peaceful resolution of the current situation,” a state department spokesperson said on Thursday.

The spokesperson also referred to a June 2 phone call in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump had discussed the India-China border.

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“We note the Indian military has announced that 20 soldiers have died, and we offer our condolences to their families. During their phone call on June 2, 2020, President Trump and Prime Minister Modi discussed the situation on the India-China border,” the spokesperson said.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters at the daily briefing President Donald Trump is aware of the situation on the India-China border and repeated a statement earlier issued by the state department spokesperson.

The state department had earlier slammed the border tensions as a reflection of Chinese aggression going beyond the rhetoric and the House foreign affairs committee had blamed the Chinese for as well.

“I am extremely concerned by the ongoing Chinese aggression along the Line of Actual Control on the India-China border,” Eliot Engel, the chairperson of the House foreign affairs committee, had said in a statement in early June.

“China is demonstrating once again that it is willing to bully its neighbors rather than resolve conflicts according to international law,” Engel had said.

India’s external affairs ministry said that both sides suffered casualties during the face-off and that China had departed from the consensus to respect the LAC in Galwan Valley.

The face-off took place on late evening and night of June 15 in Galwan Valley as a result of an attempt by the Chinese troops to “unilaterally change” the status quo during de-escalation in eastern Ladakh.

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© 2020 the Hindustan Times