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Donglang standoff: Nepal MPs ask govt to clarify position

Worried by the India-China standoff near the Sikkim border, Nepalese parliamentarians have asked the government to clarify its position on the issue.

world Updated: Jul 24, 2017 19:49 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Kathmandu
File photo of a man inside a conference room used for meetings between military commanders of China and India, on the Indian side of the border at Bumla, in Arunachal Pradesh, in November 2009.
File photo of a man inside a conference room used for meetings between military commanders of China and India, on the Indian side of the border at Bumla, in Arunachal Pradesh, in November 2009. (Reuters)

The standoff between India and China in Donglang region figured in Nepal’s Parliament on Monday, with lawmakers raising the issue and asking the government to make clear its position on the matter without any delay.

Though the government has not formally commented on the face-off near the Sikkim border, officials told Hindustan Times they were closely watching developments between India and China as Nepal shares a long border with both countries, including a strategic tri-junction.

“If the situation between India and China worsens, it will be an irreparable loss for Nepal,” CPN-UML parliamentarian Yubraj Gywali said in the House. He called on the government to make its position on the standoff clear and gear up for any contingency.

In his recent interactions with the media, deputy prime minister Krishna Bahadur Mahara, who also holds the foreign affairs portfolio, said Nepal is closely following the situation between the two giant neighbours while urging both sides to sit for talks to ease tensions.

“It is our primary position that there is no issue that cannot be settled through talks,” Mahara said while highlighting Nepal’s foreign policy based on non-alignment.

The local media has published editorials, op-ed pieces and commentaries about the tensions between India and China and possible repercussions for Nepal almost every day. However, opinion is divided on whether China’s clout has been gradually increasing in Nepal.

There is a cold war-like situation between India and China and media in both countries are flexing their muscles, Gywali said in the House. “It seems matters on both sides have been radicalised for waging war,” he said.

“In such a situation, we are not preparing for what we should do. It is not a 1962-like situation. If India and China will go for war, it will have cause huge losses and even Nepal will be impacted a lot,” Gyawali said while urging the government to play some sort of role to ease tensions.

Nepal’s key political parties should adopt a common position on the standoff and call on both sides to maintain restraint, the parliamentarians said.