WASHINGTON: The US House of Representatives has unanimously passed an amendment to the
National Defense Authorization Act
(NDAA), slamming China’s aggression against India in the
Valley and its growing territorial assertiveness in and around disputed areas like
the South China Sea
The NDAA amendment, moved by Congressman Steve Chabot along with Indian-American lawmaker Ami Bera and passed on Monday, said that India and China should work towards de-escalating the situation along the Line of Actual Control.
The troops of India and China are locked in a standoff in several areas along the Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh since May 5. The situation deteriorated last month following the Galwan Valley clashes that left 20 Indian Army personnel dead. The Chinese side also suffered casualties in the clashes but it has refused to acknowledge the number of soldiers it lost. Reports suggest that China lost anywhere between 30-45 troops.
Passed unanimously by the House of Representatives along with scores of other amendments, it said that the expansion and aggression of the People’s Republic of China in and around disputed territories, such as the Line of Actual Control, the South China Sea, the Senkaku Islands, is of significant concern.
The bipartisan amendment states Congress’ opposition to Chinese aggression against India in the Galwan Valley on the India-China border, and expresses its concern toward the growing territorial assertiveness of China. China has used the distraction of the coronavirus to attempt to seize territory belonging to India, as well as to press its territorial claims in the South China Sea, it said.
China claims almost all of the 1.3 million square mile South China Sea as its sovereign territory. China has been building military bases on artificial islands in the region also claimed by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.
China has impeded commercial activity like fishing or mineral exploration by countries like Vietnam and the Philippines.
Ties between China and Japan have been strained by a territorial row over a group of islands in the East China Sea, known as the Senkaku islands in Japan and the Diaoyu islands in China.
“India is a critical, democratic partner in the Indo-Pacific,” Chabot said in a statement after the House passed the NDAA amendment.
“I am a strong supporter of our bilateral relationship, and I stand with India, and all our partners in the region, as they confront China’s hostile acts of aggression,” he said.
“I am proud to be joined by Congressman Ami Bera, Chairman of the