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China’s New Land Border Law and Indian Concerns

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October 29, 2021

What is the issue?

China passes a new border law for the “protection and exploitation of the country’s land border areas” amid a continuing stalemate in negotiations with India.

What is the new law about?

  • The law which will take effect on January 1 designates the responsibilities of various agencies in China, from the military to local authorities, in guarding the frontiers.
  • It states that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the People’s Republic of China are sacred and inviolable.
  • The law asks the state to take measures to safeguard territorial integrity and land boundaries.
  • The law says that the Chinese military shall carry out border duties to prevent, stop and combat invasion, encroachment, provocation and other acts.
  • It suggests a push to settle civilians in the border areas.
  • It also asks the state to follow the principles of equality, mutual trust, and friendly consultation and handle land border related-affairs with neighbouring countries through negotiations.

What is the status of China’s land border dispute?

  • China shares its 22,457-km land boundary with 14 countries including India, the third longest after the borders with Mongolia and Russia.
  • Unlike the Indian border China’s borders with these two countries are not disputed.
  • The only other country with which China has disputed land borders is Bhutan (477 km).

map-china-india-border

What does China’s action signal India?

  • The announcement of new law at this time sends a clear signal to New Delhi that Beijing is in no mood to quickly end the 18-month-long crisis along the LAC.
  • India has reacted sharply, telling China that it must not use legislation as a pretext to formalise the PLA’s actions to unilaterally alter the LAC.
  • The Chinese Foreign Ministry said the law would not affect the implementation of existing agreements.
  • It makes the negotiations more difficult and the Chinese are clearly indicating that they will resolve the boundary through use of force.
  • China has been building border defence villages across the LAC in all sectors to use the civil population to reinforce their claims.
  • The law is the latest signal that the continuing deployments by both sides in forward areas and a build-up of infrastructure is likely to continue over the longer term.

 

References

  1. https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-opinion/a-clear-signal/article37223554.ece
  2. https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/chinas-new-land-border-law-indian-concerns-7592418/

 

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