Nepal seeks China’s help to fix border dispute with India
Nepal is seeking the help of its giant northern neighbour China to resolve border disputes with its other giant neighbour in the south, India.
On Thursday, Nepal’s Defence Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa of the Maoist party and Home Minister Bam Dev Gautam held separate meetings with a visiting high-level Chinese military delegation and discussed the possibility of China’s involvement in resolving the dispute over Kalapani.
Kalapani, about 75 km in Dharchula district in farwest Nepal where borders of China, India and Nepal meet, is one of the border feud flash points between India and Nepal. The Kalapani dispute started in 1962 after a war between India and China led to Indian security forces gaining control the Kalapani area.
Nepal shares over 1,800 km of open border with India and has border disputes in nearly half of its 75 districts.
Bam Dev Gautam, who is also the deputy prime minister, told the media after the meeting with the Chinese delegation that since Kalapani demarcated a tripartite border, the Nepal government felt the border talks should include all three countries.
On its part, the Chinese delegation has urged Nepal to regulate its northern border with the Communist republic in a bid to crack down on the exodus of Tibetans from Tibet to India via Nepal as well as block Tibetan dissidents’ stealthy entry into Tibet from Nepal.
Beginning in March, China faced a series of protests by Tibetans in Kathmandu which sought to draw the world’s attention to the alleged violation of human rights in Tibet on the eve of the Olympic Games in Beijing.
With exiled Tibetans engaged in discussions in India’s Dharamsala town this week to decide whether they would in future continue to seek autonomy for Tibet as part of the Chinese republic or gun for breaking away, China, which has declined to allow freedom to Tibet, is gearing up to block fresh unrest in its border areas as well as in Tibet.
Thapa, who visited China soon after assuming office and was promised military aid by the Chinese government, indicated that the Chinese team had advocated control over the open India-Nepal border as well.
‘We have no border problems in the north,’ Thapa told the media, ‘We need to regulate the southern border’ in order to prevent anti-China activities.
Border feuds as well as other bones of contention between India and Nepal are to be discussed next week when India’s External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee pays his first official visit to the Maoist-ruled Nepal.
Nov 20th, 2008