WASHINGTON – Today U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Mark Warner (D-VA), ranking member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, introduced a resolution to condemn the People’s Republic of China’s use of military aggression to change the status quo at the Line of Actual Control between India and China. This follows instances of Chinese military forces harassing Indian patrols as well as increased troop deployments and infrastructure construction in contested areas.
“As a cofounder of the Senate India Caucus, I know firsthand the importance of a strong relationship between the United States and India,” said Sen. Cornyn. “I commend India’s commitment to standing up to China and maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific. It is more important than ever that we support our Indian partners as they defend against Chinese aggression.”
“The June 15 conflict between China and India, resulting in the deaths of approximately 20 Indian soldiers, should set off alarm bells regarding the PRC’s provocative actions in disputed territory,” said Sen. Warner. “This resolution condemns PRC’s actions to change the Line of Actual Control, especially in the midst of diplomatic negotiations between the two countries; and encourages the two nations to find a diplomatic resolution that restores the April 2020 status quo at the LAC. The U.S. has long enjoyed a partnership with India strengthened by shared democratic values. That partnership only becomes more important as we work to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific.”
Deadly conflict broke out on June 15, 2020, on the China-India border following weeks of minor military confrontations along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) that separates the People’s Republic of China (PRC or China) and the Indian regions of Ladakh and Sikkim. The lethal conflict occurred in the Galwan Valley—one of the sites of tension in recent weeks—as the two sides were in the process of negotiating a mutual “disengagement” of forces (see Figure 1). PRC and Indian sources offered conflicting accounts of events, but officials on both sides confirmed casualties, including at least 20 Indian military personnel. The last time the border conflict escalated to the point of casualties was in 1975.
The events leading up to the lethal clashes included fistfights between Chinese and Indian soldiers stationed near Pangong Lake in India’s Ladakh state, territorial advances by Chinese forces in Hot Springs and the Galwan Valley (also in Ladakh), and clashes between Chinese and Indian soldiers on the border near India’s Sikkim state. Authoritative information is limited, but various accounts claim PRC troops made territorial gains of 40-60 square kilometers.