No guarantee Trump will back India against China if tensions escalate: Former US NSA John Bolton


PTI, Jul 11, 2020, 2:50 PM IST

New Delhi: Former United States national security advisor John Bolton has said that if the Sino-India border tensions escalate, there is no guarantee that US President Donald Trump will back India against China.

China has been behaving in a belligerent fashion all around its periphery, certainly in the East and South China sea, and its relations with Japan, India as well as others have declined, Bolton told WION TV in an interview.

On how far Trump was prepared to go to back India against China, he said, “I don’t know which way he would go and I don’t think he knows either. I think he sees the geostrategic relationship with China, for example, exclusively through the prism of trade.”

“I don’t know what Trump will do after the November elections once the guard rail is removed… He’ll be back to the big China trade deal. If things were to develop between India and China in a more critical fashion, I’m not sure where he would come down,” the former US envoy to the UN said.

Asked if he believes that if things were to escalate between India and China, there is no guarantee that Trump will back India against China, Bolton said, “That is correct”.

Bolton also said he does not think Trump knows anything about the history of these clashes over the decades between India and China.

Trump may have been briefed on it, but history doesn’t really stick with him, said Bolton, who was the US NSA from April 2018 to September 2019 under the Trump administration.

“I think his gut instinct for the next four months is to take anything off the table that complicates what is already a difficult election campaign for him,” Bolton said.

“So what he (Trump) would want is quiet along with the border whether it benefits China or India. From his point of view — No news is good news,” he said.

The Indian and Chinese armies were locked in the bitter standoff in multiple locations in eastern Ladakh for the last eight weeks. The tension escalated manifold after the Galwan Valley clashes in which 20 Indian Army personnel were killed.

Both sides have held several rounds of diplomatic and military talks in the last few weeks to ease tension in the region.

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