By: Pramod Thomas
The US has formally recognised the McMahon Line as the international boundary between India’s Arunachal Pradesh and China, rejecting Beijing’s claim that the northeastern state is Chinese territory.
The McMahon Line, which separates India and China, has been rejected by the latter.
A bipartisan resolution, which was first introduced in the US Senate last month, acknowledged Arunachal Pradesh as a “integral part” of India and also supported India’s “sovereignty and territorial integrity”.
The resolution, titled ‘Reaffirming the state of Arunachal Pradesh as Indian territory and condemning the People’s Republic of China’s provocations in South Asia,’ came after one of the largest clashes between Indian and Chinese forces in Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh, in December last year.
Apart from recognising the McMahon Line, the resolution also condemned Chinese provocations in the region, including China’s use of military force to change the status quo along the Line of Actual Control, construction of villages in contested areas, publication of maps with Mandarin-language names for cities featuring Arunachal Pradesh, and expansion of Beijing’s territorial claims over Bhutan.
“At a time when China continues to pose grave and gathering threats to the Free and Open Indo-Pacific, it is critical for the United States to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our strategic partners in the region, especially India,” Senator Bill Hagerty said.
Hagerty, former US ambassador to Japan, along with Jeff Markley, co-chair of the Congressional Executive Commission on China, had first introduced the resolution in the Senate.
They are also members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) which recently gave a nod to Eric Garcetti, President Joe Biden’s nominee for US’ Ambassador to India. The resolution was also co-sponsored by John Cornyn, co-founder and co-chair of the Senate India Caucus.
Senator Bill Hagerty said,“This bipartisan resolution expresses the Senate’s support for unequivocally recognising the state of Arunachal Pradesh as an integral part of India, condemning China’s military aggression to change the status quo along the Line of Actual Control, and further enhancing the US-India strategic partnership and the Quad in support of the Free and Open Indo-Pacific.”
This bipartisan resolution also “commends” the Centre for “taking steps to defend itself against aggression and security threats from the People’s Republic of China, including through securing its telecommunications infrastructure, examining its procurement processes and supply chains, implementing investment screening standards, and expanding its cooperation with Taiwan in public health and other sectors”.
This resolution strengthens bilateral ties between the US and India in all spheres, from defence and technology, to diplomatic ties. It also enhances multilateral cooperation between the two countries through alliances and dialogues such as the QUAD, Association of Southeast Asian Nations and other international forums.