Nepal should be vigilant about China’s bid to encroach its territory
China has been making new moves on its borders with Nepal recently. To give a veiled message to the Chinese that Nepal is not alone but will be fully backed by India and even the USA, Indian Army has scheduled a military training exercise with US Army from October 14 to 31 in the State of Uttarakhand. In fact this is the annual joint military exercise “Yudh Abhyas” which is being held in Auli, quite close to both the Indo Nepal border and Indo Tibetan border (Chinese have Illegally occupied Tibet since 1950).
Meanwhile, Indian and American special forces have also conducted a 21-day “Vajra Prahar” joint exercise in the state of Himachal Pradesh in the foothills of the Himalayas since August 8. The two military exercises are aimed at developing the mountaineering skills of the Americans and also increase the military interoperability between India and the United State.
The area chosen happens to be close to the Nepal -India border, directly giving the PLA a tactical level message to lay off from Nepal. New Delhi is no longer shy about its intention to tackle China on such matters
However, after facing difficulties on continuing to encroach on Indian territory on the LAC, China has turned to militarily a very weak neighbour to strengthen its control and encroachment on the border between China, and a third country.
In 2017, under the excuse of wrong claims, China had unreasonably started construction of a road in Bhutanese territory at the junction of the China-India-Bhutan border and illegally crossed over into the Bhutan side, which triggered the Doklam standoff. In recent years, in the Humla region at the junction of China and Nepal, China has also tried to occupy and seize as much as possible, arousing strong opposition from the Nepali side.
The Humla district region of Nepal near the China-Nepal border is a very inaccessible area. So China after developing roads on its side is trying to grab as much area as possible. Nepal shares a 1,439-kilometer-long border with China.
The border is remote and inaccessible in large parts due to its difficult terrain and complex geography. The frontier between the two states is based on the 1961 Border Treaty, and the various protocols signed thereafter. It is marked by 100 main and subsidiary pillars.
However, disputes over the border have surfaced between the two countries, mostly due to Chinese incursions.
Nepal had announced the formation of a committee to “study” the border dispute between Nepal and China in Humla. The committee will study the construction of houses by the Chinese side on Nepali territory between border pillars 11 and 12 in Humla district of Western Nepal.
The issue came to the fore when Prime Minister K. P. Sharma Oli was at the helm in Nepal. Deuba’s Nepali Congress was in the opposition then and its legislators were vociferous in their allegations that China had encroached Nepali territory in Humla district.
The dispute regarding the construction of 11 Chinese buildings on the Nepali side of the territory in Humla came to the fore after it was reported about Chinese encroachment in June 2020, with some even describing it as Chinese expansionism.
Through Google, it can be seen that China has aggressively expanded its military infrastructure throughout the China Nepal border recently. China wants to kill two birds with one stone by doing so. On the one hand, China aims at forcing Nepal to accept the reality of this area being occupied by China through actual military control. On the other hand, its strengthening of the military deployment is also a deterrent against India helping out Nepal on the other side of the border.
Nepali media are still silent on China’s move of strengthening its military presence in disputed area, which is partly due to the government’s pro- diplomacy, still fantasizing about avoiding confrontation. However, Nepal has reasons to be highly wary of China’s move.