India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Wednesday said that China’s unilateral decision to bring about a new land law can have implications on existing bilateral arrangements on border management and that the legislation can even have an impact on the unresolved ‘boundary question’.
“It may be noted that India and China have still not resolved the boundary question…In this regard, China’s unilateral decision to bring about a legislation which can have implication on our existing bilateral agreements on border management as well as on the boundary question is of concern to us,” said MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi.
The announcement of this law that makes China’s borders “sacred and inviolable” comes at a time when Beijing and New Delhi are engaged in prolonged ongoing discussions to resolve the standoff in eastern Ladakh. According to observers, this new law signals that China is likely to dig in its heels at the current positions, The Indian Express said.
“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 and tranquillity along the LAC in India-China Border areas,” Bagchi said.
The MEA spokesperson added, “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. Furthermore, the passage of this new law does not in our view confer any legitimacy to the “so called” China Pakistan ‘Boundary Agreement’ of 1963 which Government of India has consistently maintained is an illegal and invalid document.”
Last week, members of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC) approved the law at the closing meeting of a legislative session. The law, which becomes operational from January 1 next year, stipulates that “the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the People’s Republic of China are sacred and inviolable”.
The law also stipulates that the state shall take measures to strengthen border defence, support economic and social development as well as opening-up in border areas, improve public services and infrastructure in such areas, encourage and support people’s life and work there, and promote coordination between border defence and social, economic development in border areas.