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Editorials/Opinions Analysis For UPSC 22 February 2022

Editorials/Opinions Analysis For UPSC 22 February 2022


  1. Use international law, call out China’s violations

Use international law, call out China’s violations


The meeting of Foreign Ministers of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue or the Quad was recently concluded. During the meeting, India’s External Affairs Minister, S. Jaishankar said that the situation at the India-China Line of Actual Control (LAC) has arisen due to the “disregard” by China of “written agreements”.


GS-II: India and its Neighbourhood, Effect of Policies & Politics of Countries on India’s Interests

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Bilateral/International Agreements prohibiting the use of Force
  2. Instances of breach of Law by China
  3. China weaponising international law
  4. Need to strengthen India’s Diplomacy
  5. Way Forward

Bilateral/International Agreements prohibiting the use of Force:

  • The India-China LAC engagement is guided by a series of bilateral agreements that the two sides have signed over the years.
  • All these agreements stressed on the complete prohibition of use of force or threat by both the sides.
  • 1993 India-China Agreement:
    • It was signed between India and China. It completely banned the use of force or threatening to use force against the other by any means.
    • It stated that the India-China boundary question shall be resolved through peaceful and friendly consultations.
  • 1996 India-China Agreement:
    • It is an agreement on confidence-building measures between the two sides.
    • It prohibits the use of military capability against the other side.
  • 2005 and 1013 India-China Agreements:
    • Article I and Article VIII of the 2005 and 2013 agreements, respectively, also imposes prohibition on the use of force.
  • United Nations (UN) Charter:
    • The cardinal rule of international law codified in Article 2(4) of the United Nations (UN) Charter prohibits states from using force.
    • Exceptions to this rule:
      1. Self Defence: Article 51 permits the use of force for self Defence.
      2. Authorisation of UN Security Council: Chapter VII of the Charter allows the use of force after obtaining the authorisation of the UN Security Council

Instances of breach of Law by China:

  • Military scuffle in Galwan: In June 15, 2020, there was a tussle between the armies of between India and China in Galwan. that led to the deaths of 20 Indian soldiers.
    • This was a clear case of China using military force against India.
    • This Chinese aggression not only violates all the bilateral treaties between India-China but also the UN Charter.
  • Military buildup at LAC:
    • There are reports of a huge military build-up by China with heavy weaponry including missiles in the Eastern Ladakh Sector.
    • This is a serious breach that violates both the 1993 and the 1996 agreements.Tthese agreements relates to reducing or limiting military forces along the LAC.
    • Article III of the 1996 agreement specifically requires the two sides to reduce armaments such as combat tanks and vehicles, missiles, and mortars and big mortar guns.
    • These violations by China has instigated India to build up its Military presence in the region.
  • Other Violations:
    • After the Galwan incident, India has witnessed a series of Chinese agressions through multiple transgressions at the LAC
    • China has backed these transgressions by other developments such as implementing a new border law that renames several places in Arunachal Pradesh and aims to set up boundary markers on all its land borders.
    • The LAC transgressions and the new border law violate Article IX of the 2005 agreement that mandates both sides to “strictly respect and observe” the LAC, pending a final solution to the boundary question.
Editorials/Opinions Analysis For UPSC 22 February 2022

China weaponising international law:

  • Socialist rule of law:  
    • China has continuously targeted India and has its complete violation of international law is largely seen as China’s conception of the rule of law.
    • This is often termed as the ‘socialist rule of law with Chinese characteristics’.
    • China views law as an instrument in the service of the state or, more precisely, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
    • This is completely opposite to the rule of law theory in liberal democracies where law’s function is to constrain unbridled state power.
  • Examples of China weaponising international law :
    • There are several instances where China has weaponised international law to further the will of the CCP.
  • Violation of UNCLOS ruling:
    • In 2016, China denounced a decree by an arbitration tribunal under the aegis of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
    • The tribunal ruled in favour of Philippines, in a maritime dispute between the two sides in the South China Sea.
  • Violation of WTO rules:
    • China has ingeniously exploited the system to pursue its policy of mercantilism by hiding behind a non-transparent and complex economic system.
      • What are the accusations on China?
        • providing illegal subsidies,
        • manipulating currency to make exports competitive,
        • stealing intellectual property, and
        • forcing companies to transfer technology.
  • Violation of Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty:
    • China secretly violates the treaty by providing nuclear technology to its allies, often through proxies.
  • China has continuously used it strategy that aims to constrain its opponents through its unethical legal warfare without actually fighting a war.
  • These acts by China severely hampers relations between countries, generating an atmosphere of distrust.

Need to strengthen India’s Diplomacy:

  • India in the recent Quad meeting, rather than calling Chinese aggression along LAC as a mere “disregard”, it must have highlighted the blatant violation of international law as part of a larger game of Chinese expansionism.
  • India should develop its strategy of ethical lawfare by mainstreaming international law lexicon into its diplomatic toolkit to respond to Beijing’s challenge.
  • India should make a strong legal case by highlighting China’s violations of all International Treaties , including the UN Charter and customary international law, at every forum to call out China’s illegal actions.

Way Forward:

  • India should make an unequivocal proclamation at all international platforms that India reserves the right to act in self-defence under Article 51 of the UN Charter to counter any Chinese misadventure.
  • India’s Lawfare: India can enact a ‘national security law ‘ that aimed at imposing restrictions or sanctions of various kinds (trade, economic, military) on those countries with whom India shares a land border.
  • The purpose of India’s lawfare should be to ably demonstrate to the world that China’s international law violations pose a threat to the entire international community — not just India.
  • It is hence necessary to subjugate Chinese exceptionalism that goes against the liberal democratic values.

-Source: The Hindu

June 2024