NEW DELHI , India criticized China Wednesday for adopting a new law on land boundaries that could affect the long-running border dispute between the two countries.
Arindam Bagchi, spokesperson for the Indian External Affairs Ministry, stated that India expects China to refrain from taking unilateral actions under the new law that could alter the situation in India's border areas.
Talks between Indian army commanders and Chinese army commanders about disengaging troops from key areas along their borders ended in a deadlock earlier this month. This fails to end a 17-month-old standoff that sometimes has led to deadly clashes.
Chinese legislators approved the law during a Sunday meeting of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress.
It declares that China's sovereignty and territorial integrity are sacred and inviolable. It states that the state must take all necessary measures to protect territorial integrity and land borders and defend against and combat any act of terrorism or other interference.
Bagchi stated that India and China had previously agreed to seek a fair, mutually agreeable resolution to their border dispute.
He expressed his hope that the law would not alter agreements reached earlier by the sides in the boundary dispute, or threaten peace and stability in the border areas.
China did not immediately comment on India's statement.
Tens of thousands of soldiers, backed by tanks, artillery, and fighter jets, have been stationed in both countries along the de facto border, known as the Line of Actual Control, which is located in the Ladakh region. Twenty Indian soldiers were killed last year in an altercation with Chinese soldiers along the disputed border. The conflict involved clubs, stones, and fists. China claimed to have lost four soldiers.
The Line of Actual Control divides Indian and Chinese-held territories, from Ladakh in west India to Arunachal Pradesh in India's east. China claims the entire area. In 1962, India and China fought a war on the border.