As the diplomatic ties between India and Nepal deteriorate, the Prime Minister of Nepal, KP Oli launched an offensive against India, pinning the blame of the spread of coronavirus in Nepal on India and claiming Indian virus to be “more virulent” than the coronavirus that ravaged Italy and China.
While addressing the parliament, Oli said, “Those who are sneaking in from India through illegal channels are spreading the virus in the country and some local representatives and party leaders are responsible for bringing in people from India without proper testing.”
He further added, ‘It has become difficult now to stem the spread of the coronavirus due to the flow of people from outside. Indian virus seems to be more lethal than the Chinese and the Italian.”
Releases new map laying claims on certain Indian territories
In the same speech, KP Oli also made irredentist claims against India by asserting that Nepal would “bring back at any cost” the Indian territories of Kalapani-Limpiyadhura-Lipulekh area.
A fresh political map which showed areas of Limpiyadhura, Lipulekh and Kalapani as parts of Nepal was approved by the Nepal cabinet on Monday this week. It is notable to mention that this is perhaps the first time that the Himalayan nation which is contiguous with India has taken such a confrontational stand on the issue. Many attribute Nepal’s newfound bellicosity against India to China who is rapidly expanding its footprint in Kathmandu.
It is also worth noting that Nepal’s belligerence against India has come 10 days after the Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated a link road on the Kailash Mansarovar route in Pithoragarh in Uttarakhand, leading to Lipulekh.
The foreign ministry of Nepal had issued a press release voicing their protest against the move, claiming the link road passed through Nepali territory. However, India rejected the claims, saying “the link road lies completely within the territory of India”.
India claims that the link road follows the pre-existing road that was used by the pilgrims to visit Kailash Mansarovar. “Under the recent project, the same road has been made more robust for the ease and convenience of the pilgrims,” an official said.
But Nepal’s foreign minister was not placated by India’s response and a day later he summoned the Indian ambassador Vinay Kwatra and issued a diplomatic note on the road inaugurated.
Kwatra reiterated India’s stance on the matter, saying “India is committed to settling outstanding border disputes through diplomatic dialogue and in the spirit of our close and friendly bilateral ties with Nepal”.