(TibetanReview.net, Jul15’23) – A US Senate committee has on Jul 14 passed a resolution recognising Arunachal Pradesh, whose northern border with Chinese ruled Tibet is demarcated by the McMahon Line of 1914, as an integral part of India. China asserts claim over the Indian state on the basis of its annexation of Tibet in 1951, which India recognized in a 1954 trade deal and peaceful-coexistence agreement with Beijing.
The resolution, passed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, reaffirming Republic of India’s territorial integrity, followed less than a month after the state visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the United States.
The resolution was introduced by Senators Jeff Merkley, Bill Hagerty, Tim Kaine and Chris Van Hollen on Jul 13 and now heads for a full Senate vote, noted the PTI news agency Jul 14.
The resolution reaffirms that the United States recognises the McMahon Line as the international boundary between the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh. It pushes back against Chinese claims that large portions of Arunachal Pradesh are PRC territory, which is a part of the PRC’s increasingly aggressive and expansionist policies.
The McMahon Line was agreed in a tripartite convention at Shimla, India, among British-ruled India, Tibet, and China under the nationalist Kuomintang government. China signed the agreement but did not ratify it reportedly due mainly to its disagreement over the border between Outer Tibet, which roughly constitutes present-day Tibet Autonomous Region, and Inner Tibet, which are currently annexed to different neighbouing Chinese provinces.
“America’s values supporting freedom and a rules-based order must be at the centre of all of our actions and relationships around the world – especially as the PRC government pushes an alternative vision,” Senator Merkley, who serves as the Co-Chair of the Congressional Executive Commission on China, has said.
As regards the resolution’s potential implications, Merkley has said, “Committee passage of this resolution affirms that the United States views the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh as part of the Republic of India – not the People’s Republic of China – and commits the US to deepen support and assistance to the region, alongside like-minded international partners.”
Likewise, Hagerty has said that at a time when China continues to pose grave and gathering threats to the free and open Indo-Pacific, it’s critical for the United States to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with its strategic partners in the region – especially India and other Quad countries – and push back against the Chinese Communist Party’s broader strategy of territorial aggrandisement that it has pursued in the South and East China Seas, in the Himalayas, and in the southern Pacific.
And Cornyn has said, “As tensions between India and China escalate over their shared border, the United States must stand strong in our defence of democracy by supporting a free and open Indo-Pacific.”