Washington Throws Weight Behind India: China’s Arunachal Gambit Backfires

Washington Throws Weight Behind India: China's Arunachal Gambit Backfires
  • Joe Biden administration said it recognises Arunachal Pradesh as Indian territory and strongly opposes any unilateral attempts by China.
  • China, under Xi Jinping, has gone downhill economically as well as politically with its BRI brand losing sheen by the day.

The United States said it recognises Arunachal Pradesh as Indian territory and strongly opposes any unilateral attempts by China to advance its territorial claims across the Line of Actual Control.

Days after the Chinese military reiterated its claim over Arunachal Pradesh following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit there, state department principal deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel, at his daily press conference on Wednesday, said, “The United States recognises Arunachal Pradesh as Indian territory and we strongly oppose any unilateral attempts to advance territorial claims by incursions or encroachments, military or civilian, across the Line of Actual Control.”

The statement from the Joe Biden administration came after Chinese defence ministry spokesman senior Colonel Zhang Xiaogang earlier this week claimed that the southern part of Xizang (the Chinese name for Tibet) is an inherent part of China’s territory, and Beijing “never acknowledges and firmly opposes” the “so-called Arunachal Pradesh illegally established by India”.

China, which claims Arunachal Pradesh as South Tibet, routinely objects to Indian leaders’ visits to the state to highlight its claims. Beijing has also named the area Zangnan.

India has repeatedly rejected China’s territorial claims over Arunachal Pradesh, stating that the northeastern state is an integral part of the country. New Delhi has dismissed Beijing’s move to assign “invented” names to the area, saying it did not alter the reality.

The ministry of external affairs on Tuesday said it has noted the latest comments made by the spokesperson of the Chinese defence ministry “advancing absurd claims” over the territory of Arunachal Pradesh and asserted that the state “was, is and will always be” an integral and inalienable part of India.

On March 9, Modi dedicated to the nation the Sela Tunnel built at an altitude of 13,000 feet in Arunachal Pradesh that will provide all-weather connectivity to strategically located Tawang and is expected to ensure better movement of troops along the frontier region.

Why is China provoking India over Arunachal Pradesh?

Chinese reiteration of its unfounded cartographical claims over Arunachal Pradesh in the wake of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the border state this month is part of Beijing’s plan to keep scent marking its territorial claims as also deliberately provoking India.

While the Modi government has verbally retaliated to Chinese uncalled-for statements on Arunachal Pradesh, the fundamental objective is to draw Bharat into a verbal match and keep the comatose issue alive. The fact is China under Xi Jinping has gone downhill economically as well as politically with its BRI brand losing sheen by the day as countries like Italy have walked out of the Communist debt trap. By contrast, India has grown under PM Modi economically and politically with Bharat on the way to acquiring the global heft needed to tackle coercive powers like China.

However, India has learnt to play the Chinese on their own game. The Modi government also repeats the standardized text in response to Chinese ad-nauseam claims over Arunachal Pradesh and parts of East Ladakh. Gone are the days when India would get hassled by oft-repeated Chinese statements and the Modi government is assiduously engaging allies in South East Asia with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar in the Philippines on March 25 and profile of Taiwan increasing in India. US leadership may be in confusion over ‘One China’ policy but India has not uttered the magic words for Chinese for the past decade even as it continues to engage the Tibetan leadership in exile as well as openly supporting freedom of navigation in the South China Sea.

The Chinese provocation also is designed to provide fodder to the Indian opposition who themselves are trying to egg on the Modi government to take on the PLA for political rather than any nationalistic reasons. The Indian military border infrastructure all along the 3488 km LAC has taken a jump for the best under the Modi regime and classified efforts are also being made to ensure that the Indian troops never run out of ammunition and artillery in the worst-case scenario.

The real reason is that the Chinese economic bubble has burst because of the stock market decline. There are credible reports that the Communist state has intervened in the stock market in excess of RMB 400 billion, which is the second highest after their intervention in 2015 stock market collapse. In 2015, they had intervened to the extent of RMB 900 billion to revive its spiraling stock market. The current BRI debt is close to a trillion US dollars with countries like client state Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Venezuela, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Angola, Laos in no position to repay Beijing and being forced to part with state equity to repay the very high interest loans. The only other option is for Communist to take a haircut on these bad debts or give a loan waiver. But the latter is not possible as China projected growth this year is five percent with US political leadership slowly waking up to Beijing’s coercion even as Europe is still playing the fence sitter.

The best way for India to deal with Chinese stuck record on Arunachal Pradesh is to have its own repudiation of Beijing’s claim on an audio loop. Source

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