Nepal and India Relations Sour Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Report By Nandika Chand | Kashmir Srinagar | Last Updated at May 21 2020

The ruling Nepal Communist Party has demanded the return of Lipulekh mountain pass, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura, claiming that India has built a road despite repeated objections.

Nepal and India relations are souring as the former has accused New Delhi of encroachment. The Himalayan nation’s Prime Minister K.P. Oli has also blamed India for the spread o COVID-19.

Moreover, India has slammed Nepal for its new political map that demarcates the Lipulekh mountain pass, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura. The Lipulekh pass is a far western point near Kalapani, which is a disputed border area between Nepal and India. Both countries claim this as part of their territory. Nepal points out an 1816 treaty with the East India Company. However, India says its part of Pithoragarh district in Uttarakhand, the Indian border state.

Making the relations more tense, the ruling Nepal Communist Party has demanded the return of these areas, claiming that India has built a road despite repeated objections. Nepali officials said the new will be printed in school and college text books as well as in official documents.

An official statement by the Indian government urged the government of Nepal to refrain from such unjustified cartographic assertion and respect India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

India’s chief of the army staff, Manoj Mukund Naravane attributed Nepal’s stance at ‘the behest of someone else’. He may have hinted towards China. This month, Indian and Chinese troops have had confrontations and low-level clashes, most recent being the stand-off at the Nathu La Pass, which connects Sikkim to Chinese-ruled Tibet. The matter was later resolved through dialogue and interaction at a local level.

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