China's New Land Boundary Law - UPSC Current Affairs

China’s new land border law, which was enacted on 23rd October 2021, took effect on 1st January 2022. This development has come at a time when the Ladakh’s eastern border stand-off remains unresolved, and China has changed names of several locations in Arunachal Pradesh to further its claim to the Indian state.

The topic is essential from the UPSC mains point of view as the law is speculated to have an impact on India’s foreign policy and international relations and like renaming Indian places by China violates the territorial integrity of the country. Because the Indo-China disputes has been a hot topic for a couple of years, you may expect questions on Geography, Polity and International Relations in UPSC Prelims or Mains, it could also be asked in the interview.

The topic has a very high chance of being asked in UPSC Prelims Polity Question or as a Current Affairs Question, as it has been in the news recently.

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What is China’s New Land Boundary Law?

  • The National People’s Congress’s Standing Committee passed legislation for the safeguard and utilisation of the nation’s land border territories.
  • It directs the country to take initiatives to enhance border defence, aid social and economic development, as well as open up border areas, enhance public services and infrastructure, support and motivate people’s lives and work there, and facilitate collaboration between border defence and economic and social development.
    • It means that it is encouraging the development of villages for civilians along the border region.
  • The law also requires the state to adhere to the principles of equality, mutual trust, and courteous dialogue, while dealing with land border issues with neighbouring nations through negotiations to appropriately settle disputes and long-standing border conflicts.
  • The legislation specifies four circumstances wherein the state can take emergency actions, including border closure.
  • The new land border law forbids building of permanent infrastructure close to the border without China’s consent.

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Indo-China Relations

The law is a plain legislation of what China’s has been doing already before its enactment. Being aggressive before both at the marine front and land, the new law just states the obvious. China has the third-longest land boundary with India following Russia and Mongolia, it has land border disputes at several places on the Indian side and the law now formally mandates the Chinese state to do whatever it takes to protect its “integrity”. The law shows the determinism on the Chinese side to act aggressively.

As per several geopolitical think tanks, the reasons behind bringing such legislation are several. Beside the border standoff with neighbouring countries, it has other concerns as well, for example, it is concerned over the Afghanistan becoming a terrorism hotbed after the Taliban takeover and the spillover of terrorism into the Xinjiang province. It also prohibits other countries to build any permanent infra near its border without its consent, the provision simply reflects upon China’s speculation of forced intrusion into its “territory” and wants to keep the military infrastructure of neighbouring countries weak and distant from its borders.

Read further on India-China Relations in the linked article.

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