24 July, 2021

In Dark Waters

Domestic politics puts Kalapani at the centre of a border dispute

In Dark Waters

HELL was raised, as expected, when Nepal's new session of Parliament kicked off on June 28. It was the first time the minority government headed by Nepali Congress Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala was facing the House, and Opposition parties were expected to make the most of the government's vulnerability—in view of the stubborn economic downturn and worsening law and order situation.

 But the uproar, when it did break out, was over Kalapani, a barren, rocky area of about 35 sq km, at the trijunction of the 16,000 ft high India-Nepal-China border. The name comes from the black water springs there, said to be the source of the Mahakali River. India says ever since the '50s, the area has been patrolled by the UP police.

And in 1976, a small Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) post was also set up—for Kalapani controls the route to Lipi Lake pass, which leads to Kailash Mansarovar in China. Nepal argues that India posted its troops there after the 1962 war.

 In 1996, after the Mahakali Treaty—which deals with...

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