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Nepal to set up army barrack, border outpost near Kalapani after getting controversial new map

After amending the Constitution to adopt the controversial new political map on its national emblem, Nepal has now decided to establish an army barrack near Kalapani and open a road there for easy access, signalling a further deterioration of ties between New Delhi and Kathmandu.

The new map shows three disputed areas of Kalapani, Limpiyadhura and Lipulekh as part of Nepal.

Nepal’s move coincides with India’s month-long face-off with China that resulted in a major clash at the Galwan River valley in Ladakh Monday in which 20 Indian soldiers were killed while many were left severely injured.

On Wednesday, Nepal Army Chief General Purna Chandra Thapa had visited the Kalapani border area.

“We are going to establish an army barrack near the border. Now there is no direct road access. So army is given duty to open track. And, we have established BOP (border outpost of Armed Police Force) in Chhangru, near Kalapani,” Bishnu Rijal, deputy chief of the department of foreign affairs & member of the Central Committee, Nepal Communist Party (NCP) told ThePrint from Kathamandu.

This comes a day after Nepal’s upper house of Parliament passed the Constitutional Amendment bill to change its map, and President Bidya Devi Bhandari ratified it the same day. Nepal’s lower house had passed the bill last week.

Sources said India is “infuriated” that Nepal has now gone a step further and decided to station security forces in region, which New Delhi considers being a “disputed” region between the two.

Official sources said, Oli is doing all this to “further his political agenda”, and he is using the new map as a “tool for political gains”. This, despite Kathmandu, continuing to accuse India of not talking with the government there to settle the matter diplomatically.

Last week, Oli had also accused India of “encroaching” on its territory since 1962 by stationing its Army in the Kalapani region. “Our territory should be returned,” Oli said a day after his government tabled a bill in the House of Representatives, the lower house of parliament, to amend Nepal’s Constitution to include the disputed regions of Limpiyadhura, Lipulekh and Kalapani in its official map.

China-Nepal video-conference on leadership

Meanwhile, the Communist Party of China (CPC) held two virtual meetings with the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) on Belt and Road Initiative and also on developing leadership skills, diplomatic sources said.

“The High-level Video Conference on Belt and Road International Cooperation was successfully held yesterday! Hon. @PradeepgyawaliK Minister for Foreign Affairs of Nepal also delivered important speech on the occasion. Congrats!,” Hou Yanqi, Chinese Ambassador to Nepal stated in a tweet.

A similar symposium was also held last year before Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit there, the first Chinese head of state to undertake a trip to Nepal after a gap of 23 years.

However, today’s workshop comes at a time when tensions between India and China are at its peak and ties between India and Nepal are at an all-time low.