India worried over China's new land border law

India concerned over China's new land border law

China brought about the law when its negotiation with India to resolve the 18-month-long stand-off along the LAC hit an impasse

China voted to adopt the new law on protection and exploitation of the country’s land border areas. Credit: iStock Images

India on Wednesday asserted that the new “Land Boundary Law” unilaterally adopted by China would not have any bearing on bilateral arrangements put in place to resolve the territorial row between the two neighbours as well as to maintain peace and tranquillity in the border areas.

A spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi expressed concern over the new law, which China’s top legislature passed on October 23 last amid the 18-month-long military stand-off along its disputed boundary with India. New Delhi also underlined that Beijing’s unilateral move to introduce the new law would not confer any legitimacy to Pakistan’s 1963 deal with China for illegal transfer of 5180 sq km of India's territory to the communist country.

China brought about the new law at a time when its negotiation with India to resolve the 18-month-long stand-off along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh had hit an impasse. The Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s continued build-up and its recent incursion bids in Uttarakhand and Arunachal Pradesh of India also fuelled speculation about the tension along the disputed boundary between the two nations spreading from the western to middle and eastern sectors, too.

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“China’s unilateral decision to bring about a legislation, which can have an implication on our existing bilateral arrangements on border management as well as on the boundary question, is of concern to us,” said the MEA spokesperson in New Delhi. “Such unilateral move will have no bearing on the arrangements that both sides have already reached earlier, whether it is on the Boundary Question or for maintaining peace and tranquillity along the LAC in India-China Border areas.

China's Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress on Saturday voted to adopt the new law on protection and exploitation of the country’s land border areas, which would take effect on January 1 next year.

Xinhua, the state-run news agency of the communist country, reported that the new law stipulated that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the nation were “sacred and inviolable” and the state should take measures to safeguard its territorial integrity and land boundaries and guard against and combat any act that could undermine territorial sovereignty and land boundaries.

New Delhi took note of China’s new law, particularly its provisions that empowered President Xi Jinping’s government to reorganise the districts in the border areas, including the ones along the country’s disputed boundary with India.

“It may be noted that India and China have still not resolved the boundary question. Both sides have agreed to seek a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable resolution to the Boundary Question through consultations on an equal footing,” Arindam Bagchi, the spokesperson of the MEA, said in New Delhi. “We have also concluded several bilateral agreements, protocols and arrangements to maintain peace and tranquillity along the LAC in India-China border areas in the interim.”

Bagchi said that India would also expect that China would avoid undertaking action under the pretext of this law which could unilaterally alter the situation in the India-China border areas.

“Furthermore,” he added, “the passage of this new law does not in our view confer any legitimacy to the so-called China Pakistan ‘boundary agreement’ of 1963, which the Government of India has consistently maintained is an illegal and invalid agreement.”

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