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China’s new land border law explained

Context:

For the first time, China has enacted a national law on “protection and exploitation” of country’s land border areas.

Relevance:

GS-II: International Relations (India’s Neighbors, Foreign policies and Agreements affecting India’s Interests)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About China’s new law on Border
  2. How will the law impact India?
  3. India – China Border disputes

About China’s new law on Border

  • The Chinese law calls on the state and military to safeguard territory and “combat any acts” that undermine China’s territorial claims.
  • It stipulates that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the People’s Republic of China are sacred and inviolable.
  • It designates the various responsibilities of the military, the State Council or Cabinet, and provincial governments in managing the security and economic issues in border areas.
  • The state shall take measures to safeguard territorial integrity and land boundaries and guard against and combat any act that undermines territorial sovereignty and land boundaries.
  • The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) “shall carry out border duties” including “organising drills” and “resolutely prevent, stop and combat invasion, encroachment, provocation and other acts”.
  • The state shall, following the principle of equality, mutual trust and friendly consultation, handle land border-related affairs with neighbouring countries through negotiations to properly resolve disputes and longstanding border issues.

How will the law impact India?

  • The announcement of a law that makes China’s borders “sacred and inviolable” at a time of prolonged ongoing discussions to resolve the standoff in eastern Ladakh signals that Beijing is likely to dig in its heels at the current positions.
  • However, some experts feel it is not what the law says, but what China does on the ground that matters and the law only “states the obvious”.
  • It would formalise some of China’s recent actions in disputed territories with both India and Bhutan. The passing of the law coincides with stepped up Chinese activity along the land borders, which have mirrored actions in disputed waters in the East and South China Sea.
  • It includes the PLA’s massing of troops in forward areas along the India border and multiple transgressions across the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
  • China in recent years has been strengthening border infrastructure, including the establishment of air, rail and road networks. It also launched a bullet train in Tibet which extends up to Nyingchi, the border town close to Arunachal Pradesh.
  • The construction of new “frontier villages” along the border with Bhutan.

India – China Border disputes

The Sino-Indian border is generally divided into three sectors namely:

  1. The Western sector,
  2. The Middle sector, and
  3. The Eastern sector.
  1. The western sector: it is around 2152 km long. It is between Jammu and Kashmir and Xinjian province of China.
    1. Aksai chin: The Johnson’s line shows Aksai chin under India control while McDonald’s line shows it under China’s control.
  2. The middle sector: it is 625km long. It runs along the watershed from Ladakh to Nepal.
  3. The eastern sector: it is around 1140 km long. It was demarked by Henry Mc Mohan in 1913-14 under Shimla accord. China consider Mc Mohan line as illegal and unacceptable because during Shimla accord, Tibet was not a part of China.

-Source: The Hindu, Indian Express

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October 2022
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