India slams China’s new land border law

Despite expressing concern about the new land border law passed by China, India expressed hope that Beijing would not take any action that could “unilaterally” change the situation in the border areas of the two countries.

China’s National People’s Congress passed the law on Saturday amid a protracted military stalemate that has seen the two rival Asian nations deploy tens of thousands of troops along their disputed border in the Himalayan region.

Analysts in New Delhi take the new law as a signal of an increasingly tough stance by China in their border dispute.

The Land Border Act, which will enter into force on January 1, calls China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity “sacred and inviolable.”

Chinese troops dismantle their bunker in the Pangong Tso area, in Ladakh along the India-China border on Monday, February 15, 2021. (Photo: AP)

Chinese troops dismantle their bunker in the Pangong Tso area, in Ladakh along the India-China border on Monday, February 15, 2021. (Photo: AP)

“States must take steps to secure territorial integrity and land boundaries as well as safeguard and combat any acts that undermine territorial sovereignty and land borders,” the law said.

The move marks the first time China has passed a law outlining the way it guards its land borders. Although it shares land borders with 14 countries, including Russia, China has unresolved borders with only two countries, India and Bhutan.

The dispute between India and China in the Himalayas erupted last year amid allegations by New Delhi that Chinese troops had entered Indian territory in Ladakh, resulting in the two countries’ first deadly clash in nearly five decades, killing 20 Indian soldiers and four Chinese soldiers.

India’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday (27/10) stated that “China’s unilateral decision to pass laws that could impact on existing bilateral arrangements regarding border arrangements as well as border issues concerns us.”

Ministry spokesman Arindam Bagchi said in a statement that “both parties have agreed to seek a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable resolution to the border issue through consultations.”

“We also hope that China will avoid taking action under the pretext of this law that could unilaterally change the situation in the India-China border region,” he continued.

The claims between the two countries overlap in several places on the 3,488 kilometer long border called the Line of Actual Control that forms the border de facto they.

The new law raises concerns about the increasing difficulty of resolving disputes that have disrupted relations between the two countries. [uh/ab]

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