India and Nepal should not let the border issue fester
In a slight breather, Nepal has delayed its plan to bring in a constitutional amendment (revision) to revise the nation’s map in its national emblem. This comes after Nepal had issued a new political map showing the disputed areas of Kalapani, Lipulekh and Limpiyadhura as part of Nepalese territory. That move, Kathmandu says, was in response to India inaugurating a new road at Lipulekh. New Delhi maintains that the areas were always part of Indian territory and it had not undertaken any revision in this respect.
The incident represents growing strains in the India-Nepal relationship which began with the 2015 blockade. This has been further accentuated by Nepal under a Communist Party government moving closer to China. In the past India-Nepal ties were driven by people on both sides which fit well with the common religious, ethnic and linguistic (semantic) bonds. Now with relations being handled more directly by the dispensations in New Delhi and Kathmandu, the erstwhile informal arrangements are breaking down, allowing a trust deficit to creep in.
The delay in Nepal’s constitutional amendment provides an opportunity for talks. Again, India-Nepal relations are rooted in the people with Nepali citizens even serving in the Indian armed forces. Therefore, both sides should not allow the border issue to fester and resolve it through a brotherly dialogue.