Calling out Chinese aggression against India along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the US Congress officially passed the $740 billion Defence Policy Bill on Tuesday.
The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) was passed by the US House of Representatives and the Senate. It included essential components of Indian-American Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi’s resolution language urging China to end its military aggression against India and attempts to alter the status quo along LAC.
“Violent aggression is seldom the answer, and this is especially true for the Line of Actual Control, which is the disputed border region that separates the People’s Republic of China from India,” Krishnamoorthi said.
“By including my resolution language in the NDAA and signing that legislation into law, the United States government will send a clear message that China’s military provocations of India will not be tolerated,” he added.
China and India have been locked in a bitter military standoff along the LAC in eastern Ladakh since May this year. Relations touched a nadir when a violent face-off erupted in Galwan Valley when Chinese PLA troops tried to alter the status quo. The skirmish led to the death of 20 brave sons of the Indian Army led by Col Santosh Babu. Though there have been multiple rounds of talks to diffuse the standoff, the situation continues to be tense.
“The United States is committed to standing with our allies and partners like India in resolving the border standoff using diplomatic means,” Krishnamoorthi observed.
Incidentally, the House and Senate versions of the bill were reconciled by a bipartisan US Congressional conference committee earlier this month. The Bill will become a law when President Trump signs on the dotted line.
Trump however has threatened to veto the bill as it lacks a repeal of legal protections for social media companies. In a statement, Trump administration said it is strongly opposed to NDAA as it “fails to include critical national-security measures, includes provisions that fail to respect our veterans and our military’s history, and contradicts efforts by this Administration to put America first in our national-security and foreign-policy actions.”
Voicing “significant concern” over China’s continued military aggression along the LAC with India, the NDAA says that China “should work with” India toward de-escalating the tension through existing diplomatic channels.
The US has been extremely critical of China’s territorial aggression in the Indo-Pacific region and the South China Sea and the East China Sea where Xi administration has set up multiple militarised islands and reefs it controls.