India on Wednesday said China’s new law to strengthen land border protection can have implications on existing bilateral arrangements.

The new law, which was adopted on October 25, came amid the ongoing standoff with India along the Line of Actual Control. The law will now govern how Beijing guards its 22,000-km long land border that it shares with 14 countries, including India, Russia, North Korea, Mongolia and Bhutan.

China has land border disputes with India and Bhutan.

“It may be noted that India and China have still not resolved the boundary question…In this regard, China’s unilateral decision to bring about a legislation which can have implication on our existing bilateral agreements on border management as well as on the boundary question is of concern to us,” said India’s Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi.

Bagchi called it a unilateral move, adding that India hopes Beijing will not take actions under the new law that “could unilaterally alter the situation” in the border areas.

“Furthermore, the passage of this new law does not in our view confer any legitimacy to the “so called” China Pakistan ‘Boundary Agreement’ of 1963 which Government of India has consistently maintained is an illegal and invalid document,” he said.

This is the first time China has passed a law specifying how it governs its borders.

The new law says that China can close down its border if a war or other armed conflict nearby threatens border security. It also strengthens the Army’s policy to work closely with civilians at border areas to form the first line of defence.

It gives “relevant responsibilities” to the People’s Liberation Army, the militia and the local government to support and coordinate defence and build border infrastructure.

India and China have been locked in a border standoff since their troops clashed in Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh in June last year. Twenty Indian soldiers were killed in the clash. China put the number of casualties on its side at four.

After several rounds of talks, India and China had disengaged from Pangong Tso Lake in eastern Ladakh in February. After the commander level talks on July 31, the two countries also agreed to disengage from Gogra.

The two countries recently held a the 13th round of military talks but could not make a breakthrough. At the meeting, India told China that its “unilateral attempts to alter the status quo” had led to tensions along the Line of Actual Control, the Army said.

On the other hand, China claimed that India had insisted on “unreasonable and unrealistic demands”, which made the negotiations more difficult.