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Nepal’s ruling alliance raises boundary disputes with India, China in Common Minimum Programme shifting earlier stance

Nepal’s Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal

Kathmandu: Nepal’s ruling alliance appears to have indicated that the country has a boundary dispute with China too along with India as there are divergent views among the political parties on whether there is any such dispute with its northern neighbour.

Nepal’s boundary dispute with India, its southern neighbour is however well documented after the Nepalese government in May 2020 published a new map including the disputed region of Kalapani, Limpiyadhura and Lipulekh.

As per the Common Minimum Programme (CMP) of the 10 ruling alliance partners including Nepali Congress and CPN (Maoist Centre) unveiled on Thursday evening, pending unsolved boundary issues with ‘neighbouring countries’ in the areas including in Limpiyadhura, Lipulek and Kalapani will be solved through diplomatic efforts.

Rekha Sharma, Nepal’s Minister for Communication and Information Technology, who is also the spokesperson of the government, unveiled the CMP.

“By using the word ‘neighbours,’ the ruling alliance appeared to imply that there is boundary dispute with both India and China,” Lokraj Baral,

Former Nepali ambassador to India told the IndiaNarrative.com, “Such language appears to have been used to balance the two neighbours.”

The CMP has however not mentioned where the boundary dispute with China is.

The words used in the CMP of the current ruling alliance is quite different to what the CMP of previous ruling alliance comprising CPN (Maoist) and CPN (UML) among others.

The current government led by Puspa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ was first formed under the previous ruling alliance in late December but that alliance collapsed in late February.

The previous ruling alliance had only implied in its CMP unveiled in early January that there is boundary dispute only with India. “Effective diplomatic efforts will be made to recover the Nepali territory of Limpiyadhura, Lipulek, Kalapani and Susta,” it had said.

Former Chief Minister of Nepal’s Karnali Province Lawmaker Jeevan Bahadur Shahi had first reported about the alleged Chinese encroachment at Limi area of Humla in late 2020.

But Nepal’s Former Foreign Minister and CPN (UML) Leader Pradeep Kumar Gyawali had claimed in December 2020 that there was no encroachment by China in the Limi area of Humla.

A study team formed by the former government led by Sher Bahadur Deuba-led in September 2021 had pointed out certain encroachments on the Nepali territory.

The Chinese side has fenced and wired pillar 6 (1), which lies in the Nepali territory, and “attempted to” show its presence in the areas between pillar 6 (1) and pillar 5 (2),The Kathmandu Post reported, referring to the report of the government-formed panel.

Shahi told the India Narrative that since it was established that the Chinese side had fenced pillar 6 which falls under Nepali territory, they have removed the fence of that pillar. “They have continued to fence pillar 9 which is a common pillar on both sides,” he said.

(Prithvi Shrestha writes for India Narrative from his perch in Kathmandu)

Also Read: Is China unilaterally fencing a disputed area along its border with Nepal?