India suspects China, Pak behind Nepal Kalapani clamour

India suspects China, Pak behind Nepal Kalapani clamour

Representative image. (Getty images)

With Nepal raising its pitch on its boundary row with India, a cautious New Delhi is bracing to foil any ploy by China and Pakistan to accuse Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government of unilaterally disturbing status quo on disputed territories.

New Delhi is likely to engage with Kathmandu soon to convey to Nepalese Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli’s government that India remains committed to resolve its boundary dispute with Nepal “through dialogue in the spirit of close and friendly bilateral relations”.

Sources told DH that a meeting of India-Nepal Boundary Working Group could be held soon to reassure the neighbouring country and foil any bid by “vested interests” to take advantage of the row.

Also read — India, Nepal and the Kalapani issue

Oli on Tuesday said that he would ask Modi to withdraw Indian Army and paramilitary troops from Kalapani— a disputed territory on India-Nepal border near Pithoragarh in Uttarakhand. He also sent out a tacit message to New Delhi, underlining that the Nepal government would not yield even an inch of land to any other country.

Sources told DH that India-Nepal Boundary Working Group already had five rounds of meetings and the last one was held in September 2018, when the two sides had agreed to use satellite images to survey the area along the disputed border.

Both the sides have been trying to narrow differences in perception on the boundary alignment in Kalapani near Pithoragarh in the western sector of India-Nepal border. They remained committed to the 1815 Sugauli Treaty, which identified the Kali River as the India-Nepal border in the region.

The two neighbours, however, are yet to resolve differences in perception over the source of the river.

Nepalese Prime Minister’s comment came less than a fortnight after Kathmandu objected to the new maps of India. Modi Government had on August 5 decided to end the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and reorganize the state into two Union Territories.

The new maps were issued after the state ceased to exist and two new UTs – J&K and Ladakh – came into existence on October 31. Kathmandu alleged that the maps showed Kalapani on Nepal-India border as part of India.

China has been competing with India for geopolitical influence on Nepal.

Pakistan has been running a diplomatic blitzkrieg against India, opposing the Modi government’s decision to strip J&K of its special status and to reorganize the state into two Union Territories. China too has been echoing its “iron brother” Pakistan.