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US Ambassador Contacted Me, Says Arunachal Pradesh CM on Kenneth Juster's Visit to Tawang

In an area that is claimed by Beijing, thanks to an unresolved border dispute between India and China, this is the second time in the last five years that a US ambassador has visited Tawang.

Sumit Pande | News18.com

Updated:October 31, 2019, 2:13 PM IST
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US Ambassador Contacted Me, Says Arunachal Pradesh CM on Kenneth Juster's Visit to Tawang
US ambassador to India Kenneth Juster with Arunachal Pradesh CM Pema Khandu. (Photo tweeted by Kenneth Juster/@USAmbIndia)

Tawang: US ambassador to India Kenneth Juster’s visit to Tawang was not intended to send any message to China. The tour was initiated by Juster, who wrote to Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh, expressing his interest in visiting the state.

Juster was the chief guest at this year’s Tawang festival in the north Indian states.

Chief Minister Pema Khandu said he got a letter from the US ambassador saying he wanted to visit Arunachal and meet him. “He said he wanted to attend Tawang festival. In response, I have written to him it’s very good and that since he was coming here he could be the chief guest for the festival,” Khandu told a group of visiting journalists in Tawang.

In an area that is claimed by Beijing, thanks to an unresolved border dispute between India and China, this is the second time in the last five years that a US ambassador has visited Tawang.

A similar visit by then US ambassador to India Richard Verma in 2016 had resulted in a spat between India and China, with Beijing stating that it was firmly opposed to Verma’s visit. India had then brushed aside China’s objections calling it a “routine visit”.

China claims more than 90,000 sq km (35,000 sq miles) of land that India says is a part of its territory i.e. Arunachal Pradesh.

“It is great to be in Tawang as the Chief Guest for the Tawang Festival. #USIndiaDosti," said a Twitter post by Juster on Monday referring to the three-day festival regarded the biggest event in the cultural calendar of Arunachal Pradesh that draws hundreds of tourists every year.

Earlier, Pema Khandu said in a Twitter post: “Welcome to Ambassador Mr. Kenneth I. Juster and Consul General Patti Hoffman for Tawang Festival."

Khandu, while interacting with the media in Tawang, said, “Both Arunachal government and the US are doing some projects together here in collaboration with University of California, Berkeley. We are running a smart village program. We have identified around 70 villages for it.”

Khandu laid out plans to promote local handicraft and textiles and provide artisans with an internationally linked market. "They come to the village, they train the villagers and put the stuff in direct marketing links. It has been on for almost a year. Very soon they will be entering the market also," he added.

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