Foreign Policy Watch: India-China

China’s new land border law and Indian concerns


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not much

Mains level : China's territorial expansionism

China has recently passed a new land law for the “protection and exploitation of the country’s land border areas”.

Land Border Law: Key Takeaways

  • The law states that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of China are sacred and inviolable.
  • It asks the state to take measures to safeguard territorial integrity and land boundaries and guard against and combat any act that undermines these.
  • The state can take measures to strengthen border defence, support economic and social development as well as opening-up in border areas.
  • It seeks to improve public services and infrastructure in such areas, encourage and support people’s life and work there.

Other features

  • In effect, this suggests a push to settle civilians in the border areas.
  • The law also asks the state to follow the principles of equality, mutual trust, and friendly consultation, handle land border related-affairs with neighbouring countries.

China’s land borders

  • China shares its 22,457-km land boundary with 14 countries including India, the third-longest after the borders with Mongolia and Russia.
  • Unlike the Indian border, however, China’s borders with these two countries are not disputed.
  • The only other country with which China has disputed land borders is Bhutan (477 km).

Why is it significant for India?

  • China claims up to 90,000 square kilometres in Arunachal Pradesh in the eastern sector.
  • It has illegally occupied 38,000 square kilometres of Aksai Chin in the western sector of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • While recent tensions in the western sector have been centred on Ladakh, both sides have lately clashed in Uttarakhand as well.

A signal to India

  • The law is not meant specifically for the border with India.
  • However, this could create hurdles in the resolution of the 17-month-long military standoff at LAC.
  • There is also a clear distinction that PLA will do border management but it will make negotiations a little more difficult.


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