The US Senate introduced a bipartisan resolution on Thursday recognizing Arunachal Pradesh as an integral part of India and condemning China’s attempts to change the status quo along the Line of Actual Control.
The resolution condemns additional Chinese provocations, 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 and features in the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, and expansion of Beijing’s territorial claims in Bhutan. The resolution says that China claims Arunachal Pradesh as its own territory, which it calls ‘‘South Tibet’’, and has invoked these claims as part of its increasingly aggressive and expansionist policies.
Co-sponsored by Senator John Cornyn, who is the Co-Chair of the India Caucus, the resolution aims to push back against Chinese claims of Arunachal Pradesh being its territory, which is part of Beijing’s increasingly aggressive and expansionist policies. In this regard, the Senate resolution reiterates the United States’ recognition of the McMahon Line as the international boundary between China and the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh.
This line was established as part of the 1914 Simla Accord between Britain and Tibet, and it is named after Sir Henry McMahon, who was the foreign secretary of the British-run Government of India and the primary negotiator of settling disputes with China.
“The United States recognises the state of Arunachal Pradesh not as a disputed territory but as an integral part of the Republic of India, and this recognition is not qualified in any way,” says the bipartisan resolution introduced by Senator Jeff Merkley, a Democrat, and Bill Hagerty, a Republican.
According to reports, Senator Hagerty stated that it is crucial for the US to support its strategic partners in the Free and Open Indo-Pacific region, especially India, as China continues to present serious threats.
The bipartisan resolution introduced by Senator Hagerty and Senator Merkley expresses the Senate’s backing for unequivocally recognizing Arunachal Pradesh as a part of India, condemning China’s military aggression to alter the status quo along the Line of Actual Control, and bolstering the US-India strategic partnership and the Quad in support of the Free and Open Indo-Pacific. It applauds India’s efforts to defend itself against aggression and security threats from China, such as securing its telecommunications infrastructure, evaluating its procurement processes and supply chains, implementing investment screening standards, and expanding its collaboration with Taiwan in public health and other areas.
According to the resolution, Arunachal Pradesh is home to the Tawang Monastery, a significant Buddhist site, and the birthplace of the sixth Dalai Lama, Tsangyang Gyatso. The resolution notes that China has protested the visits of the Dalai Lama and other leaders to Arunachal Pradesh and denied visas to residents of the state seeking to travel to China. Additionally, China’s provocations in the region hinder poverty reduction and economic development in Arunachal Pradesh, where around 25% of the population lives in multidimensional poverty, according to India’s 2021 National Multidimensional Poverty Index, resulting in international donors being cautious about providing aid due to the perceived status of the territory as disputed.