India’s challenges are not new, borders become volatile. Every summer skirmishes happen all the time. Bullets are exchanged every now and then but what happens when three neighbors launch a coordinated provocation in the middle of the pandemic. India is the 3rd worst hit country due to coronavirus right now. At a time like this, it is being distracted by its neighbors, being sucked into birder flare-ups. From the north to the west to the east- India is feeling the heat on all three sides. Claiming India’s cities are not new for them. But here we have Nepal produce a map with Indian cities and preparing to send to the United Nations.
Even as Nepal’s government plans to send it’s a new map which shows Indian territories as its own to the United Nations, the New York-based body won’t be using the new map in its official dealings, however, it will accept it a part of the diplomatic protocol. The UN website will not show the territories in areas claimed by Nepal as its own. The United Nations normally prints its own maps and every map comes with a disclaimer and the disclaimer on the UN says that the boundaries and names that are shown and designations used on the map do not imply official endorsement or acceptance but the UN. Nepal has again upped its ante against India. Nepal government will be sending the newly updated map which included Kalapani, Limpiyadhura, and Lipulekh as its integral part to the united nations and Google as per the local media reports KP Ali government is making the necessary arrangement to publish the map in English and send it to the international community. It has already printed 25,000 copies of the revised map. The Nepalese announcement comes at a time when the map has emerged as a major sticking point in Kathmandu – New Delhi ties. India has slammed the rawai’s map saying that it is not based on historical facts and evidence. India views the new map contrary to the bilateral understanding to resolve the outstanding boundary issues through diplomatic dialogue.
UN has its own rules and regulations the maps and when the Nepali government sent the new Nepal map which shows the Indian territories as Nepali territories, it won’t be considered as an endorsement by the United Nations. There will be an acceptance because it’s part of the diplomatic protocol, it will be taking note of the development, by and large, we know that this is a symptom of the deteriorating relationship between the KP Ali government in Kathmandu and government herein Delhi. The government there in Kathmandu is going to send the map not only to just the United Nations but to other world capitals including here in Delhi where there will be no acceptance for the map and also Google. If you look at Google Maps as well there is a different map for every country in terms of where you are standing if you are standing in India the map will show it differently or if you are in Nepal the map will show differently. It looks like a major map controversy but initiated by the ongoing political developments in India and also Nepal, this has been causing the concern. Just last week the foreign minister of Nepal said that they would like to have a conversation with New Delhi regarding the entire map controversy but it is highly unlikely that New Delhi is going to sit again with the Japanese government given the fact that it is massively urged by the development especially that New Delhi terms as aggression by the Nepalese side.
If we look at the ongoing situation it is almost deadlock between the government in Kathmandu and government here in Delhi, by and large, India’s development projects continue in Nepal and this has been accepted publicly by the Ford minder of Nepal. But it looks like the major worry is that the Chinese influence in Nepal. We have seen in the last one month the role played by the Chinese government when it comes to the ongoing tussle in ruling Nepal communist party, how the deputy or how the Chinese envoy has been meeting with the Nepalese leaders including Prime Minister KP Ali and it looks like China has a huge impact. We know that just a few weeks ago how Four countries- Nepal, Afghanistan, China, and Pakistan had a meeting with the foreign ministers meeting at the virtual level which something it looks like with all these countries are trying to form a team by eastern grouping this was dismissed by Kathmandu but of course we know the Chinese influence in South Asia is ground and it is the great cause if discomfort for New Delhi.
With 64% of Kathmandu’s total trade, India is Nepal’s biggest trading partner. What does Nepal import from India? – Petrol, Oil, Lubricants, Iron, Steel, Cement, Machinery, pharmaceutical to name just the essentials. India also allows informal or non- tariff trade in the Terai region especially for the goods produced in the border states of UP, Bihar, and West Bengal. 60% of Nepal’s exports and imports are handled by Indian ports. In other words, Nepal relies on India for access to the sea. It also depends on India for employment. Nearly 8 million Nepalese work in India, they are employed in various sectors both formal and informal, and do not require work permits. 15% of Nepal’s total remittances come from India, which accounts for 4-5% of Kathmandu’s GDP. India also helped in grooming Nepal students. At least 12,800 Nepali students are enrolled in Indian universities. They are eligible for fee waivers. Indian also allocates 3,000 of its ministry of External affairs scholarship to Nepal.
40,000 Nepalese nationals serve in the 7 Gurkha regiments of the Indian Army and get to enjoy the same retirement benefits as their Indian counterparts. About 80,000 Nepalese are currently on India’s pension books. The Indian army also supports 11,000 widows if Nepalese soldiers and 17,000 retired soldiers from the Assam rifle. India spends 12 billion dollars in pension to Nepalese nationals every year. What do you think will happen, if India put a full stop to all of this? Who will risk Nepal? China? But China accounts for only 14% of Nepal trade. Let’s look at the map of Nepal again. Nepal is a landlocked country surrounded by India from three sides, heavily dependant on New Delhi for trade, security, and overall stability. Should Nepal be severing ties with India? They should rethink their strategy again.