Clash with China could drive India reluctantly closer to the US

Indian Army soldiers carry the coffin of Colonel B.Santosh Babu in Suryapet, India, on June 18, 2020. PHOTO: REUTERS
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WASHINGTON - The clash on Monday night (June 15) between Chinese and Indian troops on the two countries' contested Himalayan border - the worst in five decades leaving at least 20 Indian soldiers including an officer dead - has left policymakers and analysts asking if this is the moment that will drive India and the US closer.

That would seem logical. Washington has been an enthusiastic suitor, seeing India as a natural democratic partner to counter China. India is the western bookend of the US' "free and open Indo-Pacific" and top American officials have slammed China over the bloody incident. Addressing the virtual Copenhagen Democracy Summit on Friday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called the Chinese Communist Party a "rogue actor".

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