Ex-US NSA says no guarantee Trump will back India against China if border tensions escalate -- read details
John Bolton said he does not think US President Donald Trump knows anything about the history of clashes over the decades between India and China.
If the Sino-India border tensions escalate, there is no guarantee that US President Donald Trump will back India against China, his former National Security Advisor John Bolton has told WION TV in an interview. He also said that he does not think that the US President knows anything about the history of these clashes over the decades between India and China.
Bolton, who was the US NSA from April 2018 to September 2019 under the Trump administration, said that 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.
On how far Trump was prepared to go to back India against China, Bolton -- a longtime foreign policy hawk -- 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".
HISTORY DOESN'T REALLY STICK WITH TRUMP: BOLTON
On Trump's knowledge about the history of these clashes over the decades between India and China, Bolton said that the President may have been briefed on it, but history doesn't really stick with him.
"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... 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.
In June, Bolton made several explosive revelations in his new book -- "The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir" -- about Trump that include explicitly seeking Chinese President Xi Jinping's help to win 2020 re-election and expressing a willingness to halt criminal investigations to give "personal favours to dictators he liked," according to book excerpts published in several US media outlets.
In recent months, there has been a dramatic deterioration in ties between the US and China due to the latter's "handling" of the novel coronavirus outbreak and its tightening grip on Hong Kong, besides the festering trade war between the two countries.
Earlier this week, Washington slapped sanctions on several senior Chinese officials it deemed responsible for human rights abuses against the Uighur Muslim minority in the country’s Xinjiang region, in a move that is likely to further roil relations between the two countries.