The United States of America reaffirmed that it stands with India against Chinese aggression as several lawmakers criticized China for choosing a PLA soldier who was part of the military command that attacked Indian soldiers in the Galwan Valley in 2020, as a torchbearer at the Beijing Winter Olympics.
State Department spokesperson Ned Price while speaking at his daily news conference on Thursday said, “When it comes to the India-China border situation, we continue to support direct dialogue and a peaceful resolution of the disputes”.
He said, “We have previously voiced our concerns on Beijing's pattern of ongoing attempts to intimidate its neighbours. As we always do, we stand with friends. We stand with partners and allies to advance our shared prosperity, security and values in the Indo-Pacific”.
Two top American senators slammed China after it decided to field Qi Fabao, the regimental commander of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), who was injured during the June 2020 skirmish at the border with Indian soldiers in the Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh, as the torchbearer for the Games Torch Relay.
Saying that he stood with India, Florida Senator Marco Rubio said, “Another outrageous example of the CCP's flagrant politicisation of Beijing 2022. Their decision to choose a soldier who participated in a 2020 ambush against Indian troops as torchbearer is appalling and deliberately provocative”.
Senator Jim Risch in a tweet also said that the US will continue to support the sovereignty of India.
His Tweet read, “It's shameful that Beijing chose a torchbearer for the Olympics 2022 who's part of the military command that attacked India in 2020 and is implementing genocide against the Uyghurs. The US will continue to support Uyghur freedoms and the sovereignty of India”.
Nancy Pelosi, House Speaker alleged that it was an attempt of the Chinese government and Chinese Communist Party to use the glitz and glamour of the Olympics to showcase a façade that distracts global attention from egregious human rights abuses in China.
She said, “These efforts generate many questions that the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) explored throughout 2021 regarding the policies of the International Olympic Committee, the nexus between major sporting events and human rights, and the responsibilities of governments, sporting bodies, corporate sponsors, broadcasters, and others affiliated with these Olympic Games”.
Several other senators including Rick Scott, Josh Hawley, Mike Braun, Ted Cruz and Bill Hagerty, joined Rubio in introducing the ‘No PLA Loopholes’ Act – a bill to close the loophole in the existing law to joint military operations and exercises between the United States and the armed wing of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).
Notably, 20 Indian Army personnel laid down their lives in the clash at Galwan Valley which was the most serious military conflicts between India and China in decades.
Though widely claimed that the casualty count was higher, China officially acknowledged that five Chinese military officers and soldiers were killed in the Galwan clash.
The Winter Olympics in Beijing is in the midst of a diplomatic boycott by the US, European Union and several western countries over their allegations of human rights violations in Xinjiang, including captivity of over a million Uygur Muslim men and women in camps.