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China Border Law: Should India be Concerned?

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If there is something the communist countries never fail to do – it is to amaze. After a tedious year of Sino-Indian relations, 2022 might prove to be worse as Beijing moves its claws further into the Indian territory. And what exacerbates the issue – The New and Improved China Border Law.

Originally passed on October 23, 2021, it came into effect in the new year. And with this new law came much bolder and ‘definitely legal restrictions’ on its neighbouring countries like Russia, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bhutan, Myanmar, Nepal and many more. Despite having many neighbours, these laws have the worst ramifications on Bhutan and India as they are the countries that still have unsettled border disputes with China. 

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At the moment, China has illegally occupied about 38,000 sq km of Indian land in the Aksai Chin region of eastern Ladakh and has claimed over 90,000 sq km of land in Arunachal Pradesh.

More about the Law and its Implications 

The new map of China includes the entire state of Arunachal Pradesh, the Barahoti plains of Uttarakhand and parts of Ladakh. The law also prohibits the construction of permanent infrastructure facilities near the border without China’s permission. It further makes it easier for the Chinese administration to formalise claims over the disputed territories along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). This will further lead to more defence villages being built on the LAC.

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This comes at a time when the tensions between India and China are at an all-time high with the Chinese government giving official Mandarin names to fifteen places in the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh.

The new land border law is the latest attempt by China to unilaterally delineate and demarcate territorial boundaries with India and Bhutan.

Major General Ashok Kumar (Retd) told IANS (Source Business-Standard)

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The law clearly states that it will set up boundary markers to mark its border with other countries. Though these markers will be decided along with the neighbour, the country will maintain security with the help of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and the Chinese People’s Armed Police Force. 

Indian Government about the Law

After the law was passed in China back in October, the Indian Foreign Ministry released the following statement

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, 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,  and the passage of this new law does not confer any legitimacy to the so-called China-Pakistan “Boundary Agreement” of 1963.

Some experts say that the government might be overreacting but seeing how China’s recent behaviour and claims over the Galwan Valley, Demchok, Depsnag and Pangong Lake in Ladakh and along the Sikkim-Tibet border; the Ministry’s reaction may not be over-the-top.

There is also the possibility that China limits the flow of the Brahmaputra or Yarlung Zangbo river which flows from China into India. They might also cite provisions against hydropower projects which can cause real ecological problems in nearby regions. Gautam Bambawale, a former Indian Ambassador to China told Indian Express that India’s concern is rightly placed.

Read more news here.

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