China has shown its hunger for land grabbing by encroaching upon land of Nepal. It must be remembered that the communist country has been repeatedly claiming and encroaching on areas of other countries in South China Sea, in Bhutan at Doklam and in Bharat, in Eastern Ladakh. Now it has turned on its friends.
However, Nepali Communist Party, which is a subsidiary of Chinese Communist Party, is in power in Nepal. Its leaders are, thus, in no position to oppose this behaviour of China.
In the latest incident in Humla, the Chinese side has built 11 buildings in a remote part of the district that has been part of Nepali territory for long. The genesis of the Chinese claim is the missing border pillar in the area. Border pillars mark the border between Nepal and China and are joined by lines to arrive at the border line.
According to reports there was just a hut in the area in 2005, as confirmed by Dattaraj Hamal, assistant chief district officer of Humla who visited the disputed area recently.
“I talked to the people there and reported to the chief district officer,” Hamal told the Kathmandu Post over the phone from Humla. “He in turn reported to the Home Ministry. He now has gone to the area as per the Home Ministry’s instructions.”
Hamal had visited the area after report from Namkha Rural Municipality about the Chinese construction. Bishnu Bahadur Tamang, chair of Namkha Rural Municipality, reached the area on Sunday, along with the team of officials led by Chief District Officer Chirinjbi Giri.
However, not only did the Chinese claim the area was theirs, but also claimed that further area 1 KM south was also in Chinese territory. According to Tamang, Nepali territory extends two kilometres north from where the buildings are! So the Chinese have come in 2 KM and claimed further 1 KM of Nepali territory.
The Home Ministry also dispatched a team of government officials, security agencies and local government representatives to inspect and report back to the ministry.
It must be noted that the disputed area in Humla of Nepal is near the Tibet Bharat Nepal trijunction and close to Mansarovar Lake. Chinese intentions in claiming the whole area might be linked to its territorial ambitions in Bharat and securing the Mansarovar area. This reminds one of its machinations in Doklam area of Bhutan in 2017. This area of Humla also has a significant population of Tibetans and that might have further encouraged China to encroach there.
During a meeting between the two sides in 2015, Nepal and China had agreed to ascertain the location of the missing pillar no. 11, but no steps were taken in that regard.
According to the Kathmandu Post report, after Nepali officials reached the disputed site on last Sunday, a team of Chinese security personnel arrived in a truck, a tanker and a jeep. They were wearing personal protective equipment and used a microphone to talk with Nepali officials and asked them to go to the border for talks, according to Tamang.
“We spent around one and a half hours at the disputed area. After we reached, a team of Chinese army and security officials came and said talks cannot be held on their territory. Then we left,” Tamang told the Post from the district headquarters over the phone. “We claimed that area to be our territory, they showed us the map and said it is theirs.”
The land grab by China near the Indo-Tibet border should worry Bharatiya authorities. Nepal, ruled by a Communist government, has acted as a satellite state to China in recent times. It might be happy to surrender strategic areas in return for a Chinese promise to get some territories on the Bharatiya side. Although there are reports of Nepali citizens protesting in front of Chinese embassy, the Nepali government is in no position to refuse the Chinese. Bharat cannot be a mere bystander in this case as the Chinese activities near the trijunction threaten its security and may be aimed at Bharat.
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