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India is The Main Target of China’s New Border Law
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Lt Gen Prakash Katoch | Date:30 Oct , 2021 6 Comments
Lt Gen Prakash Katoch
is Former Director General of Information Systems and A Special Forces Veteran, Indian Army.

It needs no intelligence to decipher that China’s new Border Law has been devised to primarily target India. Beijing already has Pakistan in its pocket and has drawn Nepal and Myanmar into its strategic sphere. With its comparative military and economic might, it is also set to coax Bhutan to join its club. China has offered $31 million in emergency aid to Afghanistan and the first Chinese aircraft carrying humanitarian aid landed in Afghanistan on September 30.

China has been engaging the interim Taliban government of Afghanistan directly in Kabul and in Doha to discuss investments and rebuilding of Afghanistan, mitigating the Uyghur and East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) threat to itself, as also allay Tajikistan’s fears of Taliban intrusions and terrorist attacks. As a result of this as well as for seeking Beijing’s military assistance, Tajikistan has approved the construction of a new Chinese military base on the border with Afghanistan and is transferring a ready-made base on the territory of Tajikistan under the full control of the PLA free of charge.

Russia has considerable military presence in Tajikistan. At one time Russia viewed Central Asia as its exclusive sphere of influence and abhorred Chinese interference in the Central Asian Republics. However, the China-Russia alliance has now grown very strong because of American sanctions and policies. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has recently warned Afghanistan’s neighbours against permitting US-NATO presence on their soil.

A significant part of China’s new Border Law is that it was proposed ‘after’ the Chinese aggression in Eastern Ladakh last year. The law demands that China should speed up construction of civilian and border infrastructure. But even before this law was enacted, Beijing had been developing civilian and military infrastructure in 112 border towns of the Tibet Autonomous Region of China Occupied Tibet (COT) including speedily improving the road and rail connectivity to these border towns.

In June 2021, China operationalised its first fully electrified bullet train connecting Tibet’s capital Lhasa with the strategically located border town Nyingchi close to the border with Arunachal Pradesh which China illegally claims. Nyingchi is a military garrison which Chinese President Xi Jinping visited on July 21, 2021. The bullet train will enable quick reinforcements and military buildup. China has also built two new villages in Bhutan and one in Arunachal Pradesh for settling Han Chinese, PLA cadres in garb of civilians and ‘Sinicised’ locals to develop cross-border contacts in preparation of further intrusions and future operations.  

The Border Law states: “The PRCs sovereignty and territorial integrity is inviolable and the state shall take measures to safeguard them.”  China’s reference to ‘sovereignty’ was also included in the response by the spokesman of China’s People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA’s) Western Theatre Command to the 13th round of Corps Commander-level India-China talks in Eastern Ladakh held on October 10. This very clearly relates to all illegal territorial claims that China has in foreign countries – maximum in India. The Border Law has established a legal framework for the PLA, the People’s Armed Police (PAP) and border defence units to counter invasion, infiltration, encroachment or provocation across the land border.

China’s border defence units are under the command the PLA and latter in turn are directly controlled by President Xi Jinping as Chairman, Central Military Commission (CMC) and as C-in-C of PLA. China’s military reserve forces and the PAP too have been brought under the CMC. Xi Jinping, therefore, has total control over China’s security forces. The new Border Law reiterates the chain of command and clarifies the leadership system, military tasks and responsibilities of the provincial government for China’s land border management system, and in addition establishes the framework for civilian authorities in border areas directing them to “cooperate and assist” Chinese armed forces in preventing illegal border migration and for maintaining peace and stability in the border areas.  

At first impression, China may appear worried about illegal immigration from countries like Afghanistan and Myanmar but it has already taken actions to ward off such activities. In May 2021, a UNSC report had mentioned the presence of 500 fighters from the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) in north Afghanistan’s Badakhshan region bordering Xinjiang and the Wakhan Corridor. But subsequent media reports indicated that these ETIM cadres have been moved away from the Badakhshan region by the Taliban on China’s request. However, where these ETIM cadres have relocated to is not known. As for the immigrant threat from Afghanistan, Chinese military bases on the Tajikistan-Afghanistan border would take care of the threat. In Myanmar, China has created a host of proxies including in the United We State Army (UWSA) in northern Myanmar. Under the new Border Law, the PLA and PAP are free to act in border areas.

Responding to China’s new Border Law that came into effect on October 23, the Ministry of External Affairs issued a statement saying, “China’s unilateral decision to bring about legislation which can have implications on our existing bilateral arrangements on border management as well as on the boundary question is of concern to us. 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 tranquility along the LAC in India-China border areas. 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.”

China has been practicing ‘Legal Warfare’ over the past decades by ‘fabricating’ and building evidence to justify its illegal territorial claims. The new Border Law is a mischievous adjunct to China’s ‘Legal Warfare’. The Border Law legitimizes China’s sovereignty over disputed areas along the Indo-Tibet border through establishment of permanent infrastructure in these areas. The new Border Law also mentions “jointness” that clearly vests total overall authority with the PLA in all border areas.

The problem with China is that it never means what it says, breaks every agreement and follows it up with another agreement only to be violated at a future date of its choosing  – a never ending cycle. Moreover, President Xi Jinping is in a hurry to achieve ‘illegal sovereignty’ over its illegal claims. Any caution to Beijing for not misusing the new Border Law is like telling a rat not to nibble away cheese.  Finally, with the overall authority in border areas vested in the PLA by the new law, India and Bhutan should expect more mischief and muscle flexing by the PLA. 

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6 thoughts on “India is The Main Target of China’s New Border Law

  1. Ominous signs?

    Russia is amassing troops on the Ukraine border.
    China is getting ready to lauch some adventure either on LAC or in South China Sea.

    Last time , both moved in tandem was in 1962.
    US was engaged in Cuban missile crises against USSR , when China launched a surprise attack on India.. so US could not focus on India. Galbraith was there in India.

    These are ominous signs for US, India and Taiwan. both Putin and Xi are irresponsible criminals , who want to change the rules based world order into a free for all. They dont care about human lives.

    India, NATO, Quad , AUKUS should be on high alert, this is no longer seems to be an exercise.

    Its going to be a Cold , cold winter for the free world.

  2. Everyone seems to be a target of Xi Jinping’s Paranoid policies.

    that is a worrying sign.
    Even the PLA commanders have been replaced repeatedly..

    a defensive posture is advisable in dealing with such a paranoid person ?
    Perhaps a psychological profile study must be made by Indian defense agencies as well, to get a comprehensive picture of what we are dealing with

  3. Phony War has already begun, India is comparatively weak militarily.
    So some out-of-the-box offensive options ( by an arm-chair general) – not chronologically ordered..

    1. US/UK air base in Ladhak or Arunanchal, say a 5 year renewable agreement
    ( Pak and Afghan Taliban must be pacified first, so Bagram/others do not go to China)

    2. pre-emptive strike on the illegal Chinese village in Indian territory. War will be out in the open. Its risky because it will be 3 times the magnitude of Kargil, on both theatres.
    while its happening , the real fight will be diplomatic pressure on china for a Cease-fire and pull back. US and Russia will have to be on board for this. Buy Russian equipment to get their support.

    3. Sanctions on Chinese trade. it will be a pin-prick to them, but at least some action is taken.

    4. Cyber-attacks on their infrastructure, anticipate counter-attack and set-up an ambush (one-two punch)

    5. Expose the real economic debt that the chinese have , thereby start an economic crises. that will hit them hard.
    International diplomatic field-placing before the actual expose is a must- to maximize impact on the Chinese, and as much as possible , downstream countries can insulate themselves.

    6. Invite Taiwan to open an embassy in Delhi. Diplomatic power stroke which may lead to a further hardening of Chinese stand on the border.
    EU , US , UK and Russia must follow suit and invite Taiwan embassy. That will be truly impactful . So Indira Gandhi-like diplomacy is a must before it can be done – ie. get the above 4 on board.

    Option 1 and 6 need to be seriously considered.

    Last option is to raise diplomatic and military level protests with the Chinese…. unlikely to be effective in the future as in the past. Appeasement makes the aggressor more aggressive.

  4. Laton ke bhoot baton se kabhi nahi manenge, khaas taur par chandal jati ke hamare so called till now ‘bhai bhai’. Our ostrich mentality and lack of a national strategic vision, right since independence, has brought us to this pathetic situation, where all of a sudden we want to play the catch up game now with the emerging super power – China. (Both India and China started to develop at the same time, in 47-48, one taking the dictatorial communist path while the other the free for all sekular democratic way, with national goal posts changing every few years as ruling party politics changed.) So, now, after 75 years, is time in our favor? Doubtful! Still, better to get going now than never. Or we will have to fight with whatever we have, or can buy or borrow from Good Neighbor Sam, or Abraham.

  5. I believe that a deterrent to any kind of mischief that the Maoist Party’s military wing the PLA might plan on the Indo-COT border, India would have to do some loud sabre rattling and also bring home truths to the PLA’s knowledge. These are, one, East Ladakh is several thousand km from mainland China, Tibet, through which PLA’s long logistic routes pass, is not China, meaning it is potentially a hostile territory, leaving the logistic columns to interdiction by IAF, three, while conducting operations in Tibet, the Chinese army will be thinly spread, leaving vast areas to likely capture by Indian army to be used as bargaining chip in the post op negotiations.
    Like Gao, Deng Ziaoping’s interpreter of yore who has now arrogated himself to the position of head of an important strategic think tank of Maoist China, recently threatened India that China would unilaterally liberate Kashmir. He also reminded India of its rout by China in 1962. Such rabble rousers must be made aware that India is no more a pushover. If ever the PLA makes the mistake of launching offensive action against India on COT border, it stands to lose thousands of Chinese conscripts who as experience of the past year shows are unable to even survive the harsh climate of Chinese occupied Aksai Chin so how will they take on the battle hardened Indian army in combat?
    China is making a lot of empty noises, but will not take any action out of fear of retaliation.

  6. भारत को भी चीन के पड़ोसी देश किर्गिस्तान और कजाकिस्ता से रिश्ते मजबूत करने होगे। क्योंकि चीन इन दोनो देशों में निवेश और कर्ज देकर अपना दखल बढ़ा रहा । जिस तरह चीन भारत के पड़ोसी देशों के माध्यम से नजर रख रहा है भारत को भी चाहिए की बिना देरी किए हुए किर्गिस्तान और तजाकिस्तान से बातचीत करनी चाहिए।चीन तो इन दोनो देशों को अपना हिस्सा होने का दावा करता आ रहा पिछले साल चीन की और ने एक लेख प्रकाशित किया गया जिसमें उसने दावा किया कि किर्गिस्तान और कजाकिस्तान दोनों चीन का हिस्सा है।और कही न कही चीन कर्ज देकर और आर्थिक सहयोग का बहाना बना कर अपनी स्थिति मजबूत कर रहा है ।
    भारत को भी चाहिए की इन देशों से अपने रिश्ते मजबूत करे और कोई ठोस कदम ले जिससे चीन घेरा जा सके।

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