Modi 2.0 has been forced to accept two facts that India very much dislike. One is, Pakistan PM Imran Khan has really internationalized the Kashmir dispute/issue. The other is, Chinese President Xi Jinping exercises equal influence in South Asian nations, if not more than India. Xi’s state visit to Nepal deeply unsettled New Delhi elites. Undoubtedly, these changes have added to India’s long-standing security paranoia, and given good excuse for security establishment backed by the strong Modi government to take some unprecedented steps that are widely unaccepted. In huge revisionist moves, Modi government changed the map of Kashmir and included western Nepal’s mountainous Lipulekh/Kalapani area near the tri-junction between Nepal, China and India into India.
People took to street in Nepal to protest Indian move. Indian MEA reiterate that India’s map is “accurate,” and that consultations regarding the border matters are intact. Nepal’s veteran border expert Buddhi Narayan Shrestha has said that India that carried British legacy has simply disregarded the British-era evidence and mapping that clearly show that the region in dispute is Nepal’s. In an urgent response, Nepal’s all-parties meeting called by PM Oli has come out with one voice that “Kalapani is ours,” and the foreign minister has said that in a friendly spirit PM Oli will reach out to PM Modi to settle the matter diplomatically.
How the dispute unfolds remains to be seen, but there is sense that Modi 2.0 has begun to respond to Chinese inroads in South Asia not by competing with China as an equal power but as a much weaker power, humiliated by China, to disregard the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the small neighbor. If it is so, then South Asian relations will be under growing stress under Modi.
The winner of all this undoubtedly will be Xi Jinping!
Nepal Matters for America, November 09, 2019