Shaming China on a Global Forum

Editorial Analysis for IAS - Green Hydrogen

Shaming China on a Global Forum


  • India’s External Affairs Minister, S. Jaishankar said that the situation at the India-China Line of Actual Control (LAC) has arisen due to the “disregard” by China of “written agreements”. But what China has been doing at the LAC is not a mere “disregard”.
  • It is a blatant violation of international law as part of a larger game of Chinese expansionism


  • The India-China LAC engagement is guided by a series of bilateral agreements that the two sides have signed over the years.
  • A central tenet of all these agreements is the complete proscription on the threat or use of force.
  • For instance, a 1993 agreement between India and China provides that neither side shall use or threaten to use force against the other by any means.
  • It further enunciates that the India-China boundary question shall be resolved through peaceful and friendly consultations.
  • Likewise, Article I of the 1996 agreement on confidence-building measures between the two sides prohibits the use of military capability against the other side.
  • The prohibition on the use of force is also enshrined in Article I and Article VIII of the 2005 and 2013 agreements, respectively.
  • States being forbidden from using force in international relations is a cardinal rule of international law codified in Article 2(4) of the United Nations (UN) Charter.
  • The UN Charter recognises two exceptions to this rule — self-defence under Article 51 and UN Security Council authorisation under Chapter VII of the Charter.
  • The June 15, 2020 military scuffle between India and China in Galwan, that led to the deaths of 20 Indian soldiers, was a clear case of China using military force against India.
  • This Chinese aggression not only violates all the bilateral treaties between India-China but also the UN Charter.

What India should do?

  • New Delhi should develop its strategy of ethical lawfare by mainstreaming international law lexicon into its diplomatic toolkit to respond to Beijing’s challenge.
  • Rather than pussyfooting around, India should make a strong legal case by painstakingly marshalling all the international treaties, including the UN Charter and customary international law, at every forum to call out China’s illegal actions.
  • An unequivocal proclamation should be made at all international platforms that India reserves the right to act in self-defence under Article 51 of the UN Charter to counter any Chinese misadventure.
  • Enacting a national security law aimed at imposing restrictions or sanctions of various kinds (trade, economic, military) on those countries with whom India shares a land border can be an option.
  • The purpose of India’s lawfare should be to ably demonstrate to the world that China’s international law violations pose a threat to the entire international community — not just India.
Source: THE HINDU.