Q Why is it in News ?
A China’s new law on land borders has come into effect on January 1.
Q What are key takeaways of the Border Law ?
A China passed the law for the “protection and exploitation of the country’s land border areas”.
- Sacrosanct nature of Borders: Under the law, “the sovereignty and territorial integrity of China are sacred and inviolable”.
- Border defense: It mandates the state to take measures “to strengthen border defense, support economic and social development as well as opening-up in border areas.
- Habitation near borders: It seeks to improve public services and infrastructure in such areas, encourage and support people’s life and work there.
- Consultations with neighbors: The law asks the state to follow the principles of equality, mutual trust, and friendly consultation, handle land border related-affairs with neighboring countries.
Q Why did China bring it?
A Several factors may have led to China’s move.
- Aggressive actions: The new law is a tool the Chinese government will use if it wants, as its actions have been aggressive even before this law.
- Maritime assertion: This law reflects Beijing’s renewed concerns over the security of its land border while it confronts a slew of unsettled disputes on its maritime front (in the South China Sea).
- Land boundary issues: The confrontations on the Sino-Indian borders in recent years may have reminded Beijing about this law.
- Fear of radicalization: Afghanistan under the Taliban may become a hotbed for terrorism and extremism that could spread to Xinjiang amongst Uyghurs.
- One-China Policy: China officially (constitutionally) claims mainland China and Taiwan as part of their respective territories. It has similar assertions for Hong Kong.
Q Does it concern India?
- No specific mention: Although the law is not meant specifically for India, it is bound to have some impact.
- May hamper disengagement: The date for the round meeting is still awaited, amid concerns that the Chinese delegation can use the new law to try to bolster their existing positions.
- Possible misadventures: The new law provides for the construction of permanent infrastructure close to the border. This has been observed in Arunachal Pradesh.
Q What impact can it have on India-China relations?
- Onus on China: The view is still divided. Much depends on China’s actions, regardless of the new law.
- Unilateral action: The new law might be the latest attempt by China to unilaterally delineate and demarcate territorial boundaries with India and Bhutan.
- Maintain status-quo: The new law will make China dig its heels in, on the ongoing standoff as well as for the resolution of the larger boundary issue.
- Permanent demarcation of borders: There is also a possibility that Beijing appears to be signaling a determination to resolve the border disputes on its preferred terms.
Q What are other recent mis-adventures ?
- China has been building “well-off” border defense villages across the LAC in all sectors, which the new law encourages.
- President Xi visited a village in Tibet near the border with Arunachal Pradesh followed by renamings.
- China has constructed a bridge in Eastern Ladakh connecting the North and South Banks of Pangong Tso.
Q What can be the Conclusion ?
- The law only “states the obvious” as “every country is in the business of protecting its territorial integrity.
- The big question is what your territory is, and there we don’t agree with each other.