Indian External Affairs Ministry has described the report as a "figment of the writer's imagination" which claimed that the Trump administration had warned New Delhi over its approach in dealing with the ongoing border standoff with China. The report without citing any official said that the warning was conveyed to Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar by their US counterparts Mark Esper and Mike Pompeo during the 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue on Tuesday (27 October).
“We have seen the story that purports to reflect a conversation in the recent 2+2 meeting. This has no factual basis and is a figment of the writer’s imagination,” said Anurag Srivastava, spokesperson of the External Affairs Ministry.
Secretary Esper during a media interaction on Tuesday said that the US stands “shoulder-to-shoulder in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific for all, particularly in light of increasing aggression and destabilizing activities by China.”
While reiterating the US position on the seven-month-long standoff between the two Asian giants in eastern Ladakh, Pompeo underlined that the “United States and India are taking steps to strengthen our cooperation against all manner of threats and not just those posed by the Chinese Communist Party.”
Nevertheless, the Chinese Foreign Ministry on Wednesday (28 October) hit out against the US for promoting an "outdated Cold-War mindset and confrontation between blocs and geopolitical rivalry.”
The Indian establishment has also made it clear on a number of occasions that the border standoff is a bilateral issue and it will not seek support from a third country on this matter. Indian Air Force chief RKS Bhadauri on 7 October categorically stated that there has been no coordination with US forces in relation to border tensions with China.
“American deployments are done as per their perspective. We don't plan our efforts with support from someone else. They have not been deployed in coordination with us. We have to fight our own wars. No one will fight our wars for us. We have to do it ourselves,” Bhadauria said.
The air chief was asked to comment on reports suggesting that the American deployment of B-2 bombers in the Indian Ocean was to deter the Chinese from any misadventure in Ladakh.
The Sino-Indian border dispute reached an unprecedented scale in the summer of 2020, resulting in a violent faceoff in which 20 Indian soldiers lost their lives in the Galwan Valley.
India and China share a 3,500-kilometre (2,175-mile) border, known as the LAC. It stretches from the Ladakh region in the north to the Indian state of Sikkim.