Chinese sound out Nepal
Chinese sound out Nepal
National

Chinese sound out Nepal

S. Sivadas

S. Sivadas

With the US and Bhutan giving the cold shoulder to the Chinese in its stand-off with India on the Doklam tri-junction in Sikkim, Beijing has turned to another neighbour, Nepal, to seek support for its claim to that territory. The Chinese chief of mission had reportedly met his counterpart from Nepal in Delhi in a courtesy call, during which China's stand on the issue came up for discussion. The move, according to experts, is expeditious, since relations between India and Nepal, over the last few years, has been less than friendly.Since Nepal also shares two tri-junction areas with India and China, one of which, the Lipulekh pass, has been the cause of bitter acrimony with and India, after the latter decided to use it as a Sino-Indian trade route in 2015, the meeting assumes significance.

Beijing still insists that for any meaningful dialogue about the crisis, India must first withdraw troops from Doklam, a demand that India has rejected totally. The controversy began in mid-June when Indian troops stopped the People Liberation Army soldiers from constructing a road in that region. The situation may escalate in the coming weeks, experts fear. Already Chinese experts are talking of potential “small-scale operations" in Doklam plateau in two weeks' time to drive away the Indians. A policy expert, noted for his anti-India views, was quoted as saying in the Global Times, Beijing’s official newspaper, that China's response so far indicates that it will not tolerate India's presence in the territory. Delhi will, however, be given sufficient notice before these strikes take place.

New Delhi has steadfastly refused to acknowledge war with China as an option and decided to maintain this stand and work towards a diplomatic solution. While the atmosphere in the region remains peaceful, the Indian troops are also not in favour of a military action, these experts feel.

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