Nepal PM KP Sharma Oli raises border dispute with India to repay China for saving his government
Political analysts agree that it is not Nepal but PM KP Sharma Oli is behind these developments.
New Delhi: India and Nepal share a unique relationship of friendship and cooperation by open borders and people to people contact. Nepal, however, has started making rhetoric against India by releasing a controversial map of the country showing Indian territories of Lipulekh, Kalapani, Limpiyadhura as its own. The question arises as to why Nepal has opened a front against India.
Indian Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane stated that if Nepal is raising the issue, it is doing so at 'someone else's behest'.
Earlier this month, Nepal witnessed a political crisis, and senior leaders of Nepal Communist Party publicly demanded Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli's resignation. At that time Oli approached China, and Chinese Ambassador Hou Yanqi held a series of meetings with senior Nepal Communist Party leaders and resolved the crisis. Hou Yanqi understood to have sought Nepal's support against an international movement targeting China.
Political analysts agree that it is not Nepal but PM KP Sharma Oli is behind these developments. Oli has manipulated the UML and MC merger process to capture both the posts of Party Chairman and President. While applying one man one post principle for everyone, Oli, however, refused to follow it himself leading to opposition from other leaders.
He made his close confidant as President. When he faced opposition from Madhav Nepal and Prachanda to his leadership, he approached 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 also believed 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.
Earlier, New Delhi used to play a crucial role in Nepal politics but now China has emerged as a dominant player in the politics of the Himalayan nation.
In the past, Nepal had never objected to India's road construction till Lipulekh pass, which will ensure a smooth ride to Kailash Mansarovar Yatra.
A day after Nepal’s cabinet endorsed a map showing Indian territories of Lipulekh, Kalapani, and Limpiyadhura as part of its territory, India has termed the move as an "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.
According to the MEA 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 sees an increased Chinese role in Nepal as a reason for current comments by Kathmandu. Indian Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane had also hinted at foreign involvement with Nepal raking up the Lipulekh issue.
Speaking at a think tank IDSA's online meet, Army Chief 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."
During the colonial era, the British had demarcated the border between India and Nepal, making the Mahakali river as the base. Nepal believes that its boundary does not start from the river but from the first waterfall in the mountains. If this claim of Nepal is accepted, India will have to lose 5-km area to Nepal, covering about 32 sq km, besides a large part of the Lipulekh Pass.
In the 19th century, Britain had attacked Nepal several times and reached an agreement, known as Sugauli accord. Under this agreement, Nepal gave up its claim on the areas of India which it had in possession.
During the 1857 War of Independence, Nepal's army helped Britain. Pleased with this, Britain had returned a lot of land to Nepal, especially the areas of the Terai region including Janakpur and Kapilvastu. Indo-Nepal boundaries were re-determined in 1865. After a silence of so many years, Nepal's recent move appears to be at the behest of China.