28 March 2020

India issued new political map on November 2nd, 2019, putting Nepal’s land of about 372.37 square kilometer from Limpiadhura to Kalapani in its territory. Kalapani lies at the western tri-boarder point where Nepal, India and China meet. The Mahakali River originates from Limpiadhura, Kalapani. According to the 1816 Sugauli treaty (Article 5) signed between the then East India Company and Nepal, the river demarcates India and Nepal. However, India has now officially claimed the Kalapani area as its own, ignoring and disregarding the past treaty and international law.

It is this act of aggression from India that has put Nepal in great risk of losing its own precious piece of land. Following a humiliating defeat in the Sino-Indian War of 1962, Indian troops entered Kalipani of Nepal and built military outposts. Ever since India has gradually intensified its occupation, with new step creating a public outrage in Nepal. During the most recent protests, Nepalis fulminated against India’s act of legitimizing its claim on a revised national map. The new map of India, published following the occupation of Jammu and Kashmir, includes the entire area of Kalapani as a part of India’s Uttarakhanda State.

As a result, streets of Kathmandu are angry, but the leadership in Singhadurbar is still hesitant to raise the issue with India with a strong determination. Though the present government and its Prime minister have categorically said that Kalapani is Nepal’s territory and they will solve the issue with India through diplomatic channels, yet the government has failed to achieve any concrete result, except sending a diplomatic note to India. India has acknowledged the receipt of Nepal’s letter, and it has given no firm date to enter into dialogue with on Kalapani dispute.

It is to be remembered that late Indian Prime minister A. B. Vajpayee in a 1997 visit, and current Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his 2014 visit, agreed to find the solution to the dispute over Kalapani through bilateral diplomatic talks, but the Indian government now maintains that its new map is accurate. So, Nepal needs to reiterate its commitment to take back the occupied land from India, mainly for defending its sovereignty.

Nepal is threatened by a comparatively superior power, India, which seems to have been encouraged to occupy Nepal’s land after its own troops marched into Kashmir despite the state being a territory of dispute between India and Pakistan. India has shown little regard to international law, and Nepal has been the victim of aggression from a superior power. In fact, Kalapani has become a textbook case of an aspiring great power militarily occupying a strategic territory of a smaller neighbor. India has occupied Nepal’s territory for the last six decades before officially including it recently in its national map.

The strategic value of occupying Kalapani for India is in large part to gain an advantage against superior rivals, China. In this context, Nepal may need China’s cooperation while dealing with India’s aggression. Since the 19962 War, China has surpassed India in economic and military might. For this reason, India might have occupied Kalapani to gain militarily strategic advantage against China.

Whatever India’s claims and objectives, Limpiadhura, Kalapani, is the origin of the Mahakali River, the boarder point of Nepal as per Sugauli treaty. Another reason behind India’s occupation of this area is its accessibility compared to other surrounding mountains providing an excellent location for an Indian military base. Nepal’s claim is supported by Nepal-China treaty signed on March 20, 1960. In this light, China could be positive in supporting Neplal’s claim while settling the dispute with India.

Water experts of Nepal and Britain in 1916 had publicized the fact that Kutiyangdi River flowing Limpiadhura is the Mahakali River. All maps issued from 1818 to 1856 testify that the same river is the origin of Mahakali River. In the treaty with China, same proof was forwarded to assume the river as the tri-boarder point. All these proofs are with Nepal, but India has distorted facts and figures, exemplifying its hegemony over Nepal. Nepal had objected to China and India when in 2015 they reached an understanding to make Lipulake as the point for exchanging trade between two countries without consulting Nepal.

Nepal has been raising its voice to take back the occupied land, and people of all sectors have given support to Nepal’s stance. However, the present government has been quite slow in pursuing the matter with an urgency. We want the government to act firmly and decisively. If India doesn’t come to the table of talk, Nepal should internationalize the issue taking it to the SAARC, UN and international forum. Maps issued before and after 1860 Sugauli Treaty are in the Library of Congress, Washington, and, British Librar, London, and in the libraries of China, India, and Russia. Now in Nepal too, some individuals have taken the copies of those maps to be given to the Nepal’s government. The fact that the river originating from Limiadhura is Kalinadi is supported also on the basis of water science. Even the census taken in 1964 also proves that the entire Kalapani is a Nepal’s land. In the 1958 election, the people of Kalapani had voted for the candidates of different parties of Nepal. The voters list of that year is still safe as a proof to support Nepal’s claim. All these proofs and documents are sufficient to give counter response to India in order to get back the land occupied by India nullifying all international norms of relations.

Central Office, NCP (Mashal)

18 January 2020

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Kabeer Katlat

The Communist movement in India has a history of almost a century after the salvos of October Revolution in Russia brought Marxism-Leninism to the people of India who were engaged in the national liberation struggle against the British colonialists. It is a complex and chequered history.