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Nepal directs its forces to "closely monitor" Indian Army activities at Lipulekh

REPORT-2-ENG-03-09-2020-Nepal

Nepal government has directed its forces to "closely monitor" Indian Army's activities at Lipulekh area amid escalating Indo-China border tension.

Lipulekh is the tri-junction between India, Nepal and China situated atop the Kalapani Valley in Uttarakhand. Last week, the K.P. Sharma Oli government's Ministry of Home Affairs issued the directions to the Nepalese Armed Police Force (NAPF) to start the monitoring at the tri-junction.

The 44 battalion of NAPF was deployed in Lipulekh. It has requested for long range patrols in the forward areas fearing possibilities of escalation between India and China.

China too, has increased its troop build-up at Lipulekh. There 150 Light Combined Arms Brigade is deployed at the tri-junction. The brigade was moved in last month. They have also reinforced troops in Pala, around 10 km from the border.

In July, around 1,000 troops were deployed near Pala and a permanent post was built there by China. "A fortnight back, 2,000 more additional troops were deployed at the post," sources said.

It was India's road construction to Lipulekh area at 17,000 feet that had sparked a diplomatic row between India and Nepal with Kathmandu claiming the area as its own. The road was aimed at shortening the travel time for Kailash Mansarovar pilgrims.

Things so escalated that Nepal brought out a new political map showing the contested area as its own.

India and China, on the other hand, have been locked in a standoff since May at multiple points along the border. 

China has build up troops, artillery and armour in three sectors of the Line of Actual Control -- western (Ladakh), middle (Uttarakhand, Himachal) and eastern (Sikkim, Arunachal).

India too, has increased deployment across the LAC to match China's military advances. In June, India lost 20 soldiers in Galwan Valley, as its troops were involved in a violent clash with Chinese soldiers, who too lost an unknown number of men.