New Delhi: India on Wednesday hit out at China for its “unilateral” decision to bring about a new land border law and said it is a matter of concern as the legislation can have implications on the existing bilateral pacts on border management and on the overall boundary question.
External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said India expects that China will avoid undertaking action under the pretext of the law that could unilaterally alter the situation in the India-China border areas. He said such a “unilateral move” will have no bearing on the arrangements that both sides have already reached earlier — be it on the boundary question or for maintaining peace and tranquility along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
Last week, China’s national legislature adopted the new law on the protection and exploitation of the land border areas, which could have bearing on Beijing’s border dispute with India. “China’s unilateral decision to bring about a legislation which can have implication on our existing bilateral arrangements on border management as well as on the boundary question is of concern to us,” Bagchi said. He was replying to a media query on the matter. “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,” he said.
Xinhua news agency reported last week that 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”. “We have noted that China has passed a new ‘Land Boundary Law’ on October 23. The law states among other things that China abides by treaties concluded with or jointly acceded to by foreign countries on land boundary affairs,” Bagchi said. He said the legislation also has provisions to carry out reorganization of districts in the border areas.
The MEA spokesperson noted that India and China have still not resolved the boundary question and that both sides have agreed to seek a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable resolution to it through consultations on an equal footing. He said both sides have also concluded several bilateral agreements, protocols and arrangements to maintain peace and tranquility along the LAC in India-China border areas in the interim. The spokesperson said India expects that China will avoid undertaking action under the pretext of this law. “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 agreement,” he said.