India criticized China on Wednesday for passing a new land boundary law which it said could impact the two countries’ long-running border dispute.
Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said India expects that China will avoid taking actions under the new law that could unilaterally alter the situation in India-China border areas.
Talks between Indian and Chinese army commanders to disengage troops from key areas along their border ended in a stalemate earlier this month, failing to ease a 17-month standoff that has sometimes led to deadly clashes,
Chinese lawmakers approved the law at a meeting on Sunday of the standing committee of the National People’s Congress.
It stipulates that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of China are sacred and inviolable. “The state shall take measures to safeguard territorial integrity and land boundaries and guard against and combat any act that undermines territorial sovereignty and land boundaries,” it says.
Bagchi said India and China earlier agreed to seek a fair and mutually acceptable resolution of their border dispute.
He expressed hope that the law would not affect arrangements earlier reached by the two sides on the boundary dispute or threaten peace and tranquility in border areas.
There was no immediate comment from China on India’s statement.
Both countries have stationed tens of thousands of soldiers backed by artillery, tanks and fighter jets along their de facto border, called the Line of Actual Control, in the Ladakh region. Last year, 20 Indian troops were killed in a clash with Chinese soldiers involving clubs, stones and fists along the disputed border. China said it lost four soldiers.
The Line of Actual Control separates Chinese and Indian-held territories from Ladakh in the west to India’s eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh, which China claims in its entirety. India and China fought a war over the border in 1962.