Geopolitics

India-Nepal Tension Needs Attention
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Issue Net Edition | Date : 25 May , 2020

A China tourism hoarding outside Kathmandu airport with the message, ‘Welcome to Nepal – Gateway to China’.

On 7th May 2020, India’s Defence Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated the road from Tawaghat to Lipulekh in Pithoragarh Distt of Uttarakhand via a video conferencing. The road is passing through extremely difficult terrain which has reduced the arduous trek of the pilgrims going to Kailash-Mansarovar from three weeks to one week. Earlier there was road existing till Tawaghat (in military parlance Road-Head) i.e about 15 Km ahead of Dharchula and thereafter only foot/mule track existing uptill Lipulekh running parallel, west of Kali River the boundary between India and Nepal. This road has taken a considerable time to be made operational and has a strategic flavour too by reaching forward right up to the Himalayan watershed between India and Tibet.

From Lipulekh onwards there was a road / vehicular track existing on China’s side right upto Kailash-Mansarover. The road now constructed from Tawaghat to Lipulekh has followed same alignment of earlier existing track and was to be completed in five years by 2013 by Border Road Organisation. But due to hazardous terrain, sheer rock faces of the gorge of the Kali River and road passing through altitude ranging from 6000 to 17000 ft the progress on the construction was extremely slow.

However, from 2019 onwards Chinook helicopters were pressed in, to ferry heavy equipment and machinery which proved to be game changer and hastened up the speed. This road is not only important to India for movement of pilgrims to Kailash Mansarover, tourism and trade but has significant strategic importance for logistic build up and fast induction of troops against China.

Nepal Government has raised objection on this project claiming that road is passing through their territory and action of India is unilateral, possibly on egging by China and also to satisfy hyper nationalist ego of domestic population and of ruling communist party. Resolution has recently been passed by Nepal Government in the cabinet that Kalapani, Lipulekh and Limpiyadhura are all part of Nepal and should be taken back at all cost including using diplomatic and political means.

Accordingly, political map to this effect has also been released by them. Nepal also claims that India clandestinely has shown these areas as part of India in their Political Map released late last year. Whereas Indian Government is very firm that this Road has been constructed well within Indian territory and has followed same alignment of the existing track used by pilgrims visiting Kailash- Mansarover. India feels that Nepal has never earlier in the past raised any objection /observation on this Road / track being used by pilgrims visiting Kailash Mansarover or when the road was being constructed for last more than 10 years.

India strongly feels that this is being done due to pressure exerted by Chinese and also to keep the fragile unity in ruling communist party intact. Political map which was released last year by India was necessitated due to bifracation of J&K State in two UTs after abrogation of Article 370 and 35 A and did not alter in any way the existing boundary with Nepal. India pointed out that Nepal’s artificial enlargement of it’s claims are not backed by historical facts and advised Nepal to respect the Territorial Sovereignty of India.

In the past, India and Nepal has resolved most of the border disputes except Kali River and Lipulekh area in frank and friendlier manner. Both the countries are claiming that Kali River, Lipulekh Area and Limpiyadhura falling in their territory.

Nepal advocates that complete area falls in their Dharchula Distt and claims to have historical evidence ie 1816 Treaty of Sugauli entered with British India in this regard where as India reitrates that tri- junction between India, Tibet and Nepal in this area is well to the East of Lipulekh Pass. This road runs west of Kali River and falls in Pithoragarh Distt of India. Nepal is India’s most important neighbour in South Asia with historical, cultural, religious and social ties. With about 15,000 Gorkha soldiers serving in various regiments in Indian Army at any point of time the relations transcends such farcical issues. Approximately 1,35,000 pensioners (over 95,000 of the Indian Army and 40,000 of the Central and State Governments as well as para-military) draw pensions from the offices of Defence Wing of the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu. Nearly 30,000 get their pensions directly in their bank accounts. Such short-sighted ill considered actions will have unbounded long term repercussions.

There is well established protocol and mechanism existing between both the friendly countries to resolve such boundary issues diplomatically and politically. Therefore, relation between both the friendly countries should not be allowed to go downhill but should have meeting at Foreign Secretaries level to resolve the issue amicably at the earliest, taking all the aspects into consideration, in the spirit of mutual respect and friendship. Keeping the bondage of friendship existing between both the nations in mind, lets hope the matter is resolved on priority to the satisfaction of both of them.  

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The views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of the Indian Defence Review.

About the Author

Maj Gen Ashwani Siwach

Former - Head of Territorial Army 

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7 thoughts on “India-Nepal Tension Needs Attention

  1. History shows that,whosoever in Nepal,supported the Indian State – was either killed or destroyed – starting from their King !

    Y ?

    Simple ! It is an unnatural alliance ! dindooohindoo

    Before the King was killed by his limpet retard of a son,Indians thought that the Nepali limpets, would be in India’s lap, as their poodles forever.As time has passed, the chasm is widening.

    Big Picture !

    Indians and Nepali limpets are 2 different races – with 1 common dubious religion.However, that is no basis for a strategic alliance.The last quake destroyed many temples in Nepal – and soon,the Pashupatinath temple,will also be destroyed.

    Every industry from Biratnagar to Northern Nepal,is owned and run by Indian Banias and Marwari filth,from Bihar and Bengal (because the transit port,is Kolkata-KPT)

    The Country has a worthless education system.

    How can such a nation,be a strategic partner of India ?

    How can there be a democracy,or an informed political choice,of the masses,in such a pathetos of a nation ?

    What kind of a fool – except an Indian Clown,in the MEA or the MOD,would rely on a Nepali politician, to secure Indian interests vis-a-vis the PLA and the PRC

    Either the Indians take over Nepal (after destroying it),or let the Nepali rats,go to the PRC – and kick out the 2 crore Nepalis in India.

    Let them evolve with the PRC – they might produce another Buddha or Sita Maiya.

    How many of these 2 crores Nepali rats,are on ration cards,and with voter cards – and with swing votes,in several constituencies – and,as a burden,on the subsidised Indian education system ? Y ?

    India has at least,2-300 million, poor people (at a grade lower, than these Nepalis) ?

    In the North East,these Nepali rats,are demanding a separate state – the temerity of a rat !

    In limpet states,like Uttarakhand – these rats are called OBCs,and have quotas in state jobs!

    Y ?

  2. The latest situation of the India nepal border is articulated very nicely.Moreover the author has given very nice suggestions to show the respect to border territory.Our honourable prime minister has very soft and amicable view as far as nepal concerned .So Nepal must reply in the same positive and amicable manner.I congratulate the honourable General sahib for writing the facts in a very soft manner. Sadhuwad

  3. Indian hegemonic designs are evident here; the border agreement as well as international law does not permit permanent construction so close to the international border as India did on Indo-Nepalese border and at Arunachal Pradesh.

    Indeed. it all depend on the leadership as Indian nation is a peaceful one but the foreign pampered military regime which is actually controlling the Indian politics including the decisions of honourable Supreme Court of India is returning Indian hegemonic strategy of 1980s. Nepal must also discuss at regional forums including SAARC to compel New Delhi to honour legitimacy.

  4. No doubt that inflated hyper ventilated views are not going to solve the problems.. Nepalese have a sense of betrayal from India, in that , India is able to exploit more from Nepal than it provides.This over the years has created an anti India mind set atleast amongst the Middle class and youth..It is incidental that a communist govt more than supports and fans such views..Hence a targeted preception management in conjunction with open dialogue with Nepal Govt on all outstanding issues is the need of the hour.

  5. While the 2015 blockade by India has come to bite us back, Nepal has a tradition of ratcheting up territorial claims periodically. Now it has China as a backer and it will continue with such unilateral action.
    I do not think Nepal has any intention of settling the dispute diplomatically and id bent on playing the Nationalism card.
    While the diplomatic channels can continue to work, it is best to let the matter settle down as of now.

  6. Nepal is lost to India.China’s influence is all too pervasive, too strong, too lucrative.

    We should annex Nepal at earliest or else PLA will be on Indo Nepal borders, in the garb of construction activities .

    Pakistan would use it as a terrorist base , operate unhindered & enlarge its scope to Eastern and Central India .
    Today India can retaliate with sanctions, also send back Nepalese working in India , disband Gurkha Regts based on Nepalese Gurkhas but in turn it will be swamped with Nepalese refugees and a heightened violence of revived Gorkhaland movement.

    Annex Nepal is the answer. West will support us in our this endeavour.
    If we don’t want to annex and be weighed down with more problem and poverty , then at least make it a protectorate like Bhutan.

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