Defence

Is there a China hand in the India-Nepal border spat?

A historically warm friendship between neighbours has, of late, taken on a more confrontational hue, as a long-standing cartographic dispute, following India’s inauguration of a 75-km stretch of land to Lipulekh, a strategic vertex across the boundaries of India, Nepal and China, has come to the fore.

Following Defence Minister Rajnath Singh’s signing off on the road to act as a route for Indian pilgrims to access Kailash Mansarovar, the Nepalese government issued an official complaint noting that the track encroached upon Nepal’s territory.

The matter has now threatened to turn into a regional flashpoint after General MM Naravane remarked, “There is a reason to believe that they might have raised the issues at the behest of someone else…”, leading many to speculate that the Army Chief was implying the involvement of China in coercing Nepal to effect unwarranted geopolitical pressure on India.

Nepal also released a new map last week that drew a sharp response from India’s Ministry of External Affairs that claimed it included portions of Indian territory.

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