Democratic US Congressman Brad Sherman, who is a senior member of the powerful House Foreign Affairs Committee, on Wednesday described as “pre-meditated” the Chinese aggression in which 20 Indian troops died in the Galwan Valley on June 15.
This is the strongest statement so far from the US. The US administration had so far just condoled the deaths. US Secretary of State Michael R Pompeo, the seniormost Cabinet minister from the Trump administration, had tweeted “condolences”.
Sherman, who represents California’s San Fernando Valley, on Wednesday tweeted, “Good speaking with India’s Ambassador @SandhuTaranjitS today. I offered my condolences to the Ambassador for the approx. 20 troops who died as a result of premeditated Chinese aggression at the actual line of control in Ladakh last week.”
“We also spoke in general re strengthening the U.S.-India relationship,” he said.
Sherman is currently serving his twelfth term in Congress and has served in the House of Representatives since 1997. Over the last few months, he has been very active commenting on Kashmir, the NRC, and had met External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar in December last year along with other Congressmen.
In October last year, Sherman chaired a two-and-a-half-hour US Congressional hearing, since he is chairman of the House Subcommittee on Asia, on the topic “Human Rights in South Asia: Views from the State Department and the Region”.
Several Congress members including Indian-American Pramila Jayapal, Sheila Jackson Lee (who is a member of the Pakistan caucus) and Ilhan Omar questioned Alice Wells, then Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, and Robert Destro, Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labour.
Sherman, who began the hearing by describing Kashmir as the “most dangerous flashpoint in the world”, had said that he has for years condemned the terrorist attacks in Kashmir and spoken about the Kashmiri pandits. He had said that India’s decision with respect to scrapping Article 370 was not in direct response to these terrorist attacks.
Besides Kashmir, the NRC issue had also come up for discussion, and as Sherman had asked whether it is a serious legislative proposal or a “crackpot idea”, Destro responded: “It is a serious legislative proposal.” When Sherman asked “have we condemned it?”, Destro replied, “We are doing it right here.”
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines