Here's How India Responded To China's New Law On Borders

by Swarajya Staff - Oct 29, 2021 12:00 PM +05:30 IST
Here's How India Responded To China's New Law On BordersChina at borders (Representative image)
  • India released a statement expressing “concern” over the new Chinese “Land Boundary Law”, calling it a “unilateral move”.

    It also stated that the Chinese law could have no bearing on existing arrangements between the two countries, as they have not resolved their boundary issues thus far.

In a strongly-worded statement released on Wednesday (27 October), the Indian government told China to not use its new “Land Boundary Law” to alter the situation at the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

The statement expressed “concern” over the law, calling it a “unilateral move”. The law authorises the Chinese government to combat any attempts on its land boundaries and to strengthen border defences and infrastructure.

The Chinese strategy regarding the border disputes has been one of 'salami slicing' or 'cabbage approach'. China is known to keep moving on with the talks while blocking any real progress towards resolution. Meanwhile, it keeps carrying on with furtive, incremental encroachments by militarising the border areas, building infrastructure.

Under the 'cabbage strategy', China will first assert a territorial claim and gradually surround the area with multiple layers of security, effectively denying access to the other country to its own territory. This way, a dispute that didn't exist before is constructed. China then asserts its claim through periodic incursions, increasing their frequency and duration, ultimately pressuring the rival to cut a deal on its terms.

India said that the Chinese law could have no bearing on existing arrangements between the two countries, as they have not resolved their boundary issues thus far. The new law seems China's attempts to formalise the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) incursions into the LAC and building infrastructure along Indian territory since April 2020. India and Bhutan both have boundary disputes with China, making them more of a target for the law, experts have said.

The statement says:

“China’s unilateral decision to bring about 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. 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 along the LAC in India-China border areas."

“We also expect that China will avoid undertaking action under the pretext of this law, which could unilaterally alter the situation in the India-China border areas.”

The statement was released by the Ministry of External Affairs, India, four days after the law was first reported in the Chinese state media. India also repeated that the China-Pakistan 1963 agreement is “illegal and invalid”. Under the agreement, Pakistan handed over the Shaksgam Valley of Aksai Chin - a part of erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir princely that became a part of India through an Instrument of Accession - to China.

The statement reflects India's message to China that it is cautious against any incursions on the disputed border, and would not hesitate to escalate if encroached upon. Meanwhile, with groupings like QUAD and AUKUS becoming more proactive, China is seen to pursue its territorial expansion agenda more aggressively and rapidly, with the experts pointing out that an invasion of Taiwan is a clear threat in the near future.

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