WASHINGTON DC: United States President Donald Trump has said that he spoke with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the recent border standoff with China and the latter was not in a “good mood” over the “big conflict” between the two most populous countries.
Indian and Chinese troops have been facing off along the disputed border in the western Himalayas since early May.
“They have a big conflict going with India and China. Two countries with 1.4 billion people. Two countries with very powerful militaries,” Trump told reporters, according to a White House transcript.
“And India is not happy, and probably China is not happy. But I can tell you, I did speak to Prime Minister Modi. He’s not – he’s not in a good mood about what’s going on with China,” Trump added.
The comments followed a Twitter post the previous day in which Trump said the United States had told India and China that it was ready to arbitrate their “raging border dispute”, the first time he has thrown himself into India-China diplomacy.
But Indian officials expressed surprise at Trump’s latest remarks.
On Friday, China’s foreign ministry said there was no need for a third party to mediate.
Both India and China lay claim to thousands of kilometres of territory in each other’s possession along a vast stretch of the Himalayas.
They went to war in 1962 and have not been able to settle the border since, prompting occasional flare-ups between border troops.
Military observers say one likely reason for the renewed border tension in the Ladakh sector is India’s effort to build new airstrips and roads near the de-facto border to try to narrow the gap with China’s superior infrastructure.