Government’s silence on shrinking territory

  • November 6, 2019

Image: A section of the new Indian political map released by India’s Home Ministry on November 2.

The Indian Ministry of Home Affairs on November 2 released a new political map that places Kalapani, a disputed tract of land between Nepal and India, within Indian borders. Immediately after the release, geography experts in Nepal and social media users put the government under harsh scrutiny for failing to counter India’s claim to the national territory.

However, the government has maintained a pin drop silence on the issue. The ruling Nepal Communist Party, which had contested the 2017 elections as a nationalist force in the wake of the 2015 border blockade imposed by India, is yet to take a public stance on the issue. Though discussions were ongoing late into November 5, no official notice has been published by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as of yet.

Nepal, however, is not alone in this. Our powerful southern neighbor also riled Pakistan after the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs issued a notification detailing the boundaries of the new union territories of occupied Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh. After the abrogation of Article 370 on August 5 this year, the President of India had ordered bifurcation of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, giving birth to two Union territories of J&K and Ladakh.

The Pakistani government, unlike Nepal government, was quick to respond to the issue. “Pakistan rejects the political maps of India displaying the Jammu and Kashmir region and seeking to depict parts of Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir within the territorial jurisdiction of India,” said a statement issued by the Pakistani Foreign Office on November 3.

India’s bully nature is not alien to the world. The months-long communication lockdown in Kashmir and the economic blockade imposed in Nepal in the immediate aftermath of a devastating earthquake in 2015 are only a few examples of India’s tyrant behavior toward its neighbors.

Sound diplomacy has always been elusive to our politicians when it comes to facing our neighbors. India’s persecution is indicative of Nepal’s weak diplomatic and bureaucratic practices. This encourages our southern neighbor to bully its bordering countries.