Know more about the new land border law of China; India expresses concern

By: |
October 27, 2021 5:07 PM

This new law according to the Chinese media reports is for the “protection and exploitation of the country’s land border areas”. This new law is not meant for the ongoing border disputes with India. There are disputes along the 3,800-km boundary with China.

india china tensionForces of India and China have been in a standoff since last April-May following clashes along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). (Photo source: AP)

The 14th round of India-China Corps Commander level talks are expected to take place soon and dates are in the process of being firmed up. This round of talks will take place close on the heels of China recently passing a new land law which will come into effect from January 1, 2022.

This new law according to the Chinese media reports is for the “protection and exploitation of the country’s land border areas”. This new law is not meant for the ongoing border disputes with India. There are disputes along the 3,800-km boundary with China.

India expresses concern over the new Land Boundary Law of China

Responding to media queries the official spokesperson of MEA, Arindam Bagchi says, “China’s unilateral decision to bring about a legislation which can have implications on our existing bilateral arrangements on border management as well as on the boundary question is of concern to us.”

According to him, such a unilateral move will not have any bearing on the agreements reached between the both countries earlier. “Whether it is for maintaining peace and tranquillity along the LAC in India-China Border areas or on the Boundary Question.”

India has also stated that it expects China will avoid undertaking action under the pretext of this law “which could unilaterally alter the situation in the India-China border areas.”

Furthermore, “the passage of this new law does not confer any legitimacy to the so-called China Pakistan “Boundary Agreement” of 1963.”

The government of India has time after time maintained that the agreement made in 1963 is illegal and invalid.

The boundary question between India and China remains unresolved. And the two sides have agreed to seek a reasonable, fair and mutually acceptable resolution through consultations on an equal footing.

And to maintain peace and tranquility along the LAC in India-China border areas in the interim, both have several bilateral agreements, protocols and arrangements in place.

When was this law proposed?

In March 2021, the law was first proposed.

Forces of India and China have been in a standoff since last April-May following clashes along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). The clashes occurred when the Chinese troops were mobilized and who carried out multiple transgressions.

China has several unresolved border related issues with Bhutan and India.

What does the new law say?

On October 23, 2021, the Chinese Legislature which is mostly ceremonial in that country and is controlled by the ruling Communist Party, had voted for this law.

According to experts, China would use this law to formalize its recent actions in disputed territories in India and Bhutan, and could create some hurdles in the case of the 17 month long standoff between India and China.

However, there are some others who feel that the ongoing standoff is not because of domestic laws but more because of the actions on the ground by the PLA troops.

There have been several attempts by the Chinese Peoples’ Liberation Army (PLA) multiple transgressions across the LAC, building and expanding infrastructure, amassing troops in the forward areas along the India border and construction of new “frontier villages’’ along the border with Bhutan.

According to reports, under the new law “to take measures to improve public services, infrastructure in such areas, support and encourage people’s life and work there, support social and economic development, strengthen border defence, promote coordination between border defence, opening-up in border areas”.

To guard against and combat any act that undermines territorial sovereignty and land boundaries.

Take measures to safeguard land boundaries and territorial integrity.

The new law stipulates that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the People’s Republic of China are sacred and inviolable.

The new law which has been passed coincides with the recently stepped up along the land borders by the Chinese and this has also created more activity in the disputed waters in East and South China Sea.

What are the security and economic issues under the new law?

Has designated various responsibilities of the military, the provincial governments, the State Council or Cabinet — in managing the economic and security issues in border areas.

According to Article 22 the PLA “shall carry out border duties”. The new law has specified that the PLA will “resolutely prevent, stop and combat invasion. Also, to stop encroachment, provocation and other acts and organise drills.

Under the new law China will now “to resolve all long standing border-related affairs with neighbouring countries be handled through negotiations to properly resolve disputes and long-standing border issues”.

What happened in the summer of 2020?

The PLA has violated four past border agreements that had helped in maintaining peace and tranquility since the inking of the 1993 agreement for the same.

According to Indian officials, the two sides had disputes over the perception of the LAC and in the summer of 2020, China massed a huge number of troops in forward areas. And this was done by the Chinese in an attempt to unilaterally redraw the LAC and Galwan Valley, Demchok, Depsang, Pangong Lake, and other areas. Galwan Valley in June was the ground for the worst clashes between the armies of India and China since 1967.

Bhutan

With Bhutan it has a 477 kms border. China has taken de facto control over the disputed Doklam plateau. It has also been building frontier villages along the border.

Why is China doing this along the borders with Bhutan?

It is to reaffirm its territorial claims. It is building 628 “moderately well off villages’’, and this is being done to encourage the herders to settle in the disputed areas in border areas.

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