Nepal fails to pass constitutional amendment to make new maps official
Several politicians in Nepal believe that the new maps were an effort to invoke Gorkha nationalism for personal gains.
Nepal’s diplomatic aggression appears to be backfiring.
The country's Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli had triggered quite a stir last week after his government issued maps that included three Indian territories, Kalapani, Lipulekh and Limpiyadhura as its part.
However, the constitutional amendment put forth in the country's parliament to make the new maps official, has been reportedly put on hold after its Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli failed to build consensus.
Even, the main opposition party did not endorsed Oli’s plans. In fact, several politicians in Nepal see this as political opportunism.
They believe that the new maps were an effort to invoke Gorkha nationalism for personal gains.
But, Oli has been repeatedly attacking India. On two occassions, he blamed India for the growing coronavirus cases in Nepal.
The ties diplomatic ties between India and its neighbour Nepal have hit an all time low.
And the decline in their relationship benefits China which is gaining influence in Kathmandu.
A Chinese survey team will become the first group to climb the Mount Everest this year.
There purpose is to remeasure the exact height of the mountain.
Noteworthily, China's state broadcaster earlier this month had claimed that the Everest belongs to China.
The governments of Nepal and China are working more closely now because Prime Minister Oli seems to leaning more towards Beijing.
What he appears to have forgotten is how much Nepal depends on India.
The Nepal-India border is around 1700 kilometers long. Both Indians as well as the citizens of Nepal can freely cross it. This enables trade.
According to the website of Nepal’s embassy, India is Nepal’s largest trade partner. It is also the biggest source of foreign investment.
By 2018, the total value of bilateral trade was at least six billion dollars.
At least 10 million Nepalese citizens live in India due to the open borders. They are settled across the country.
The Indian army also recruits soldiers from Nepal.
There are seven Gorkha regiments in the Indian army which make up almost 40 battalions. Most of the soldiers in these battalions are recruited from Nepal.
India supports more than one lakh pensioners (defence and civil) and dependents in Nepal.
The Indian mission in Kathmandu has a pension branch. In the 2016-17 financial year, it had disbursed almost 2,800 crores to Nepalese citizens.
Clearly, with this mapgate, Nepal has bitten off more than it can chew. Prime Minister Oli is still putting on a brave face.
Reportedly, his government has vowed to bring the amendment back to the parliament.
India is monitoring Nepal closely, according to sources. New delhi is tracking the debate in Kathmandu.