Who, and what, is the reason of Nepal's changed attitude towards India?

WION New Delhi, Delhi, India May 20, 2020, 11.23 PM(IST) Edited By: Palki Sharma

India-Nepal border Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

Oli on Tuesday even asserted that Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura belong to Nepal and vowed to "reclaim" them from India through political and diplomatic efforts, as his Cabinet endorsed a new political map showing the three areas as Nepalese territory.

Nepal Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has said the coronavirus coming from India was more lethal than those from China and Italy, and blamed the rising number of coronavirus cases in the Himalayan nation on those illegally entering the country from India.

The country has so far reported 427 cases of COVID-19.

Oli's remarks came amid Nepal's border row with India after the construction of a key road connecting the Lipulekh pass with Dharchula in Uttarakhand.

Oli on Tuesday even asserted that Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura belong to Nepal and vowed to "reclaim" them from India through political and diplomatic efforts, as his Cabinet endorsed a new political map showing the three areas as Nepalese territory.

For the uninitiated, the Lipulekh pass is a far western point near Kalapani, a disputed border area between Nepal and India. Both India and Nepal claim Kalapani as an integral part of their territory - India as part of Uttarakhand's Pithoragarh district and Nepal as part of Dharchula district.

India has said that the recently-inaugurated road section in Pithoragarh district in Uttarakhand lies completely within its territory. Indian Army chief Gen MM Naravane last week said that there were reasons to believe that Nepal objected to India's newly-inaugurated road linking Lipulekh Pass with Dharchula in Uttarakhand at the behest of "someone else", in an apparent reference to a possible role by China on the matter.
He said there was no dispute whatsoever between India and Nepal in the area and road laid was very much within the Indian side.

But the question arises -- the long standing issue between India and Nepal could have been resolved without the theatrics. Why has Nepal now resorted to this, when it should be fighting the pandemic?

Or has it been told to behave a certain way?

Interestingly, the Chinese ambassador to Nepal was recently seen holding a series of meetings with senior members of Nepal's ruling party -- a sign of clear interference by China in Nepal's domestic politics.

It is also believed that China engineered the grand alliance of two of the biggest communist parties in Nepal. In 2018, KP Sharma Oli and Pushpa Kamal Dahal -- better known as Prachanda -- had joined hands to form the Nepal Communist Party.

The alliance managed to win power. But the infighting has not stopped.

Reports say Pushpa Kamal Dahal wanted Oli to step down.

So, if other reports are to be believed, facing the risk of a potential collapse of his government, the prime minister of Nepal seems to have taken a tough stand against India.

The ties between India and Nepal came under strain after New Delhi issued a new political map incorporating Kalapani and Lipulekh as part of its territory in October last year. 

(with inputs from agencies)