19 November 2019 I India is rather surprised at Nepal’s unusually “aggressive tone” on the disputed Kalapani region, website of a popular Hindi-language newspaper reports.
Last weekend, Prime Minister KP Oli assured Nepalese people that he would ask Government of India to withdraw its armed forces from the disputed Kalapani region which he said “was Nepal’s”.
Nepal claims the area, just under 400 square kilometres in size, is an integral part of its sovereign territory. Nepal’s stance is based on the Sugauli Treaty – an 1816 agreement between British India and Nepal.
Relationship between the two countries has historically been friendly and “brotherly” with millions of Nepalese working and living in India and vice versa.
Trust between the two friendly nations is such that tens of thousands of Nepalese citizens serve in the Indian Army and, ironic enough given the current imbroglio, defend India’s borders. Many have sacrificed their lives in their line of duty posthumously winning some of India’s highest gallantry awards.
This traditionally friendly relationship went sour after India recently published its new geo-political map that places Limpiyadhura, Lipulekh and Kalapani within its border. Responding to a press release by Nepal’s foreign ministry that decried the map in question, the spokesperson for India’s Ministry of External Affairs earlier clarified that the new map accurately showed what was India’s own territory.
It is not immediately clear if Mr Oli has already had any communications with his Indian counterpart on the matter but his “tone” has definitely surprised not only the Indian government but also the local media in New Delhi, Indian media reports suggest.
According to a news report on the website of popular Hindi-langauge newspaper Hindustan, international relations experts in India have been left stunned by the unusually “agressive tone” of the Nepalese Prime Minister.
The report goes on to suggest that perhaps China is responsible for Mr Oli’s changed tone.
This is the first time that Nepal has ever been so direct in telling India to remove its army out of Kalapani which the Himalayan nation claims is its territory.
According to a recent article published by southasia.com.au, between 1952 and 1969 India used to have 18 military check-posts on the Nepalese side of the Sino-Nepal border. Nepal later asked India to remove these check-posts from its territory; the Indian government responded by removing 17 of them. Howevver, the last check-post in Kalapani, which continues to hurt Indo-Nepal relations to this day, was never removed.
Citing former Indian foregin secretary Shashank, the livehindustan.com report claims that the Indian government “is not attaching much importance to the matter”.
India’s stance on the matter has not changed, the report further said.