Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla wrapped up his two-day visit to Nepal on a positive note Friday, as both neighbours appear to leave behind this summer’s simmering acrimony triggered by what is now being dubbed as the “cartographic war.”
Considering that the claim to Kalapani, which India regards as its own came around the same time as the Chinese transgressions in Ladakh, the Indian army chief in a rare outburst said that Nepal had been put up to do this by a third country, in an obvious reference to China. This was widely seen as an affront to Nepal. Chinese defence minister Wei Fenghe arrives in Kathmandu on Sunday.
It is well known that at the time the new political map of Nepal was ordered to be printed by Prime Minister KP. Sharma Oli, he was fighting his challengers within the party with his back to the wall. Once the battle was won and his position secure, Oli decided to send out an olive branch to India. Oli called Prime Minister Narendra Modi to greet him on India’s independence day on August 15. The Indian leader said he would soon send an emissary to Nepal. The thaw had begun.
While sending out greetings on Vijaya Dashami, a major Hindu festival celebrated through the length and breadth of Nepal, Oli used the old map, which did not include Kalapani-Lupulekh-Limpiyadhura, which is in India’s Pithoragarh district. Perhaps that was Oli’s way to send a message to India. However, his opponents in Nepal were not amused with the PM’s whimsical use of the map.