Australia takes diplomatic swipe at China over deadly border confrontation with India

Australia has taken another diplomatic swipe at China over the deadly border dispute with India.

For decades India and China have fought skirmishes along the border that divides India from the Chinese autonomous region of Tibet. In June 20 Indian soldiers were killed in clashes with the People’s Liberation Army at a disputed border site in the Himalayas.

The assault happened when Indian army patrol decided to tear down temporary structures erected by the Chinese military on terrain claimed by India, setting off a brutal six-hour fight at sub zero temperatures.

Australia’s newly appointed High Commissioner to New Delhi has indicated that the Australian Government’s support for India in the decades-long dispute.

“Australia urges restraint along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), and supports continued moves towards de-escalation,” Barry O’Farrell said in a statement this week.

“As I told the External Affairs Minister of India, Australia opposes any attempts to unilaterally alter the status quo, which only serve to increase tension and the risk of instability,” Mr O’Farrell added.

Since 1960s Australia has not taken sides in the LAC dispute, but now Australia has decided to go public with its position.

Australia’s position comes amid growing expectations that Australia could soon be invited to re-join the Malabar naval exercises involving the United States, Japan and India.

The Australian Government has strengthened its opposition to Beijing’s maritime claims in the disputed South China Sea through a formal letter to the United Nations.

The US and Australia also jointly reaffirmed their opposition to the Chinese military build-up in the disputed waters following annual AUSMIN talks in Washington.