Washington, Oct 5: The US State Department officials dismissed the Chinese claim on India’s Arunachal Pradesh. This development came as a major breakthrough amidst the ongoing border standoff between India and China along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
A senior US State Department Official said replying to a question from a reporter on the diplomatic position of the US with respect to the current Chinese overtures, that they are closely monitoring the escalated situation at the border.
While conceding that the actual position at the border was sensitive, he added that the US position was ‘explicitly clear’ on some parts of the border. For nearly six decades the US has recognized that Arunachal Pradesh was Indian territory, he added.
The Senior State Department official also pointed out the unilateral attempts made by China to undermine India’s territorial integrity. He emphasized that the US strongly opposed any unilateral attempts to advance territorial claims by incursions, by military or civilian incursions across the border or across the established line of actual control (LAC).
About the disputed boundaries, the US official said that they encouraged India and China to use their existing bilateral channels to discuss those and not resort to military force.
Furthermore, the official stated that achieving peace in the Indo-Pacific region was the common objective of both India and the United States. “Well, the United States maintains a – has a vision and a commitment to a peaceful, open Indo-Pacific region and I’d say that stands in marked contrast to the activities of the People’s Republic of China,” he reiterated.
While acknowledging India’s victimization at the hands of aggressor China, the US State Department remarked, “You just have to open your internet browser to see all of the various areas where China has engaged in aggressive, hostile, or bullying behavior against its neighbors or against its own citizens. Unfortunately, India has also been one of the victims of that.”
It further added, “We see it along the Mekong River, where Beijing has used its massive cascade of dams to hold back water from downstream neighbors in Southeast Asia, contributing to the worst drought in the Mekong’s recorded history. I urge everyone to read the recent report from the Stimson Center, “New Evidence: How China Turned Off the Tap on the Mekong River.”
Clashes between the two countries have occurred along the Line of Actual Control raising fears of serious conflict breaking out between the two countries. Only recently, the Indian Army had made major breakthroughs and occupied six new heights along the LAC in Eastern Ladakh. This was after India had acted proactively to occupy heights in regions on the Southern Bank of the Pangong Tso lake and strengthened their positions. Talks between the two countries have been ongoing but without any major headway.