China has a new law to guard its borders, gives more powers to the PLA
The new law empowers the People’s Liberation Army to work closely with people living along the border areas and use them as the first line of defence.
China has passed a new law on the protection and exploitation of the land border areas amidst standoff with India at multiple locations. China shares boundaries with 14 countries which have a length of 22,100 km land border. The new law enacted would become operational from January 1 next year.
The new law has been passed at a time when the Chinese are concerned about the security on its front with Taliban-governed Afghanistan and the ongoing border standoff with India in eastern Ladakh, which has now been completed for 18 months. Indian and Chinese PLA troops even had a violent skirmish last year in which the Indian side suffered 20 casualties while the latter admitted to just four deaths.
As per the new law, China's PLA will be allowed to counter any "invasion, encroachment, infiltration, [or] provocation" that occurs on any of the country's borders and provides a legal framework for hard border closures if Beijing sees fit. The new law empowers the People’s Liberation Army to work closely with people living along border areas and use them as the first line of defence. There is also a provision to undertake massive
improvement of public services and infrastructure in such areas.
As per the reports, the Chinese administration had also raised apprehensions about the Islamist extremists entering into its Xinjiang province. The Chinese are wary that they may connect with the Uyghur Muslims. Illegal immigration from Vietnam and Myanmar have also been a cause of concern for the Chinese policymaking as they see them as bringing Covid-19 cases into the country.
As part of confidence-building measures along the Line of Actual Control, India and China had signed five protocols and agreements to prevent any standoff along the border areas. But time and again the China’s PLA has violated the established protocols at several locations along the 3488-km-long boundary that the two countries share. A few days ago, the Indian Army's Eastern Commander Lt Gen Manoj Pande had suggested that New Delhi is reviewing its future responses at a higher level.
While interacting with a group of journalists at Tenga in Arunachal Pradesh, Lt Gen Pande had said that strategic guidance with regard to dealing with situations on the LAC is to respect the mutually agreed protocols and agreements. He also said that India has been keeping up with its end of the bargain notwithstanding the action or response from the other side.