New Delhi, June 17 (IANS) Even as border clashes between India and China escalate geo-political tensions in the subcontinent, the pro-China government in Nepal seems to be in no mood to budge from its position on redrawing the country’s map. Behind Nepal Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli’s unanticipated stand on the map issue, the role of the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu has been a key “inspiring factor”, sources in Indian intelligence agencies revealed to IANS.
The timing of the unprecedented Indo-China clash in Galwan valley, and PM Oli’s territorial adventurism is no coincidence. Intelligence sources in New Delhi said that young Chinese Ambassador in the Himalayan republic, Hou Yanqi, was an “inspiring factor” behind Comrade Oli’s move to change Nepal’s boundary, claiming a part of territory in India’s Uttarakhand state.
Sources said that Hou, who earlier did a three year stint in Pakistan, was a frequent guest at Oli’s office and residence. Besides, a delegation of Communist Party of Nepal, instrumental in drafting the Second Constitution Amendment Bill to change the political map, was in touch with the Chinese Ambassador.
The young Chinese Ambassador, working at the behest of foreign policy strategists in Beijing, is considered to be one of the most powerful foreign diplomats in Nepal. “Apart from serving in Pakistan, she was holding a key responsibility in the Department of Asian Affairs in China’s Foreign Ministry,” says an intelligence report.
The Chinese Embassy also entertained a few top leaders of the Communist Party of Nepal’s youth wing. According to a report, youth leaders of the left-wing party staged a protest on the India-Nepal border near Pithoragarh district of Uttarakhand. Later simultaneous protests were also staged in Kathmandu and other towns to muster widespread support of the people. The Chinese Embassy’s hectic back door efforts finally led PM Oli to fast-track the map bill.
Without taking China’s name, Indian Army chief General M.M. Naravane had earlier hinted that Beijing was behind Nepal’s strong protest against India’s new link road to the Lipulekh pass in Uttarakhand.
“I do not see any contradiction at all as far as the road to Lipulekh Pass is concerned. In fact, the Nepalese Ambassador had mentioned that the east side of Kali Nadi belongs to them. There is no dispute in that,” Gen Naravane had said in a webinar organised by an Indian think tank last month.
The Indian army chief was of the view that on the Lipulekh Pass issue, there had never been any problems arising from Nepalese side in the past.” So there is a reason that they (Nepalese) have raised the issue at the behest of someone else,” he had said without mentioning China.
Intelligence reports say that initially Nepal had agreed to hold discussion on the Lipulekh issue once the Covid-19 pandemic abated. There was also a plan to hold a virtual conference between the foreign officials of India and Nepal over the issue. However, as Indo-China border border tension gradually escalated in Galwan Valley, the Communist government in Kathmandu also changed its view on the issue and was seen adamant to change Nepal’s map through an amendment in the constitution.