The friendship between India and Nepal has not just been historic but that of mutual trust with open borders. However, the Himalayan country has surprisingly upped rhetoric against India by releasing a controversial map showing Indian territories of Lipulekh, Kalapani, Limpiyadhura as its own following pressure from China.
While doubts being raised over why Nepal has opened a front against India, Indian Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane stated it is doing so at ‘someone else’s behest’.
Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s resignation was publicly demanded senior leaders of Nepal Communist Party earlier this month, which forced him to approach China, and Chinese Ambassador Hou Yanqi held a series of meetings with senior Nepal Communist Party leaders and resolved the crisis. Hou Yanqi has tried to use Nepal’s support against an international movement targeting China.
It is not general public of Nepal but the PM KP Sharma Oli, who is behind these developments. Oli has manipulated the UML and MC merger process to capture both the posts of Party Chairman and President. He also chose his close confidant as President. On facing opposition from Madhav Nepal and Prachanda to his leadership, Oli asked help of the Chinese Ambassador, who then pressurized Madhav Nepal and Prachanda to back off and saved Oli. Now, Oli is paying back for the Chinese help.
It is being said in the corridors of power that China engineered the grand alliance of the two communist parties in Nepal. In 2018, KP Sharma Oli and Pushpa Kamal Dahal — better known as Prachanda had joined hands to form the Nepal Communist Party. New Delhi’s role in Nepal politics is faded while China has emerged as a dominant player in the politics of the Himalayan nation. In the past, Nepal had never raised any issues over India’s road construction till Lipulekh pass, which will ensure a smooth ride to Kailash Mansarovar Yatra.
Nepal’s cabinet endorsing a map showing Indian territories of Lipulekh, Kalapani, and Limpiyadhura as part of its territory, is seen as a move of “artificial enlargement of Nepalese territorial claims”.
“The Government of Nepal has released a revised official map of Nepal today that includes parts of Indian territory. This unilateral action is not based on historical facts and evidence. It is contrary to the bilateral understanding to resolve the outstanding boundary issues through diplomatic dialogue. Such artificial enlargement of territorial claims will not be accepted by India,” Said Anurag Srivastava, Official Spokesperson of Indian Ministry of External Affairs.
The MEA said in the statement, “Nepal is well aware of India’s consistent position on this matter and we urge the Government of Nepal to refrain from such unjustified cartographic assertion and respect India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. We hope that the Nepalese leadership will create a positive atmosphere for diplomatic dialogue to resolve the outstanding boundary issues.”
New Delhi also points at increased Chinese role in Nepal as a reason for current comments by Kathmandu. Naravane had also hinted at foreign involvement with Nepal raking up the Lipulekh issue.
At a think tank IDSA’s online meet, Naravane said, “I do not know exactly what they are exactly agitating about. Never been a problem in the past, reasons to believe they might have raised these problems, issues at the behest of someone else and there is very much a possibility.”