Washington, Oct 31 (IANS) After US envoy to India Kenneth Juster’s visit to the border area of Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh, Washington has said that the visit “highlights resolute US support for Indian sovereignty and commitment to local partnerships”.
Alice G. Wells, Acting Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of South and Central Asia, in a tweet said: “@USAmbIndia’s #Tawang visit highlights resolute US support for Indian sovereignty and commitment to local partnerships. The US funding supports joint public health and social sciences work in #Arunachal by @USouthFlorida and Rajiv Gandhi University.”
She attached a tweet by Juster, in which he says: “Such an honor to be Chief Guest at the Tawang Festival and inaugurate the seventh edition of this wonderful celebration. #USIndiaDosti”, with pictures of the Tawang Festival and his participation in it.
Juster’s visit to Tawang is significant, as three years ago China had protested angrily over the then US envoy Richard Verma’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh, which it considers as “South Tibet”.
China has so far not reacted to Juster’s visit.
Juster was on a three-day visit to Arunachal Pradesh, and was joined by Pattie Hoffman — the US Consul General in Kolkata, West Bengal. The Tawang Festival is organised every year by the state Department of Tourism.
In 2016, China had reacted sharply to Richard Verma’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh and warned that a third party meddling would only complicate the dispute between Beijing and New Delhi.
India has told China that Arunachal Pradesh is an integral part of the country.
Juster’s visit to Tawang also comes days after India and China held their second informal summit in Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
On Monday, Juster said that the US has modernised hospitals and health facility centres in Namsai and Pasighat.
Juster said the University of Florida has collaborated with Arunachal Pradesh’s lone central university — the Rajiv Gandhi University — for combined research work.
Chief Minister Pema Khandu said the state was fortunate to host two US Ambassadors to India in a span of three years. He briefed the visiting dignitaries about the strengths, challenges and opportunities of the state.