Beijing and Delhi agree to trade through Nepal, without informing Kathmandu
Kathmandu (AsiaNews) - India and China have signed an agreement to promote trade between the two countries through the Himalayan Lipulekh pass, in Nepal, but did not inform the Kathmandu government. Government authorities and the major political parties of Nepal complain about a violation of international pacts and call for the immediate cancellation of the Treaty.
Minister of Communication and government spokesman Minendra Rijal, has expressed deep disappointment: "We protested through diplomatic channels. Both China and India must cancel this deal. The countries that enter into treaties that include the territory of Nepal without informing us directly violate international law. We are sure that they will soon cancel the agreement and we can come together with another agreement that meets the interests of all three countries”.
During Indian prime minister Narendra Modi’s recent visit to China – in return for Xi Jinping’s Delhi visit in September 2014 - the two leaders signed a series of agreements to foster cooperation and the commercial production of the two Asian giants. One of these involves the passage of goods through the Lipulekh crossing. Located in the Himalayas, the mountain pass connects the ancient city of Taklakot in Tibet [today Purang - ed] with the Indian state Uttrakhand through the valley of Byash, north-western Nepal.
The protests of the government authorities are added those of Pushpa Kamal Dahal, leader of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) [UCPN-M, the third party in the country - Ed] and former prime minister, who sent three separate letters to Modi, Xi and Prime Minister of Nepal Shusil Koirala. In the letters the politician laments the attitude of neighboring countries, dictated by economic interests. Pushpa says: "We believe that paragraph 28 of the joint declaration between India and China, which placed the Lipulekh pass in the trade route between the two nations, contradicts the provisions contained in the 1816 Treaty of Sugauli between Nepal and India. The Treaty states clearly that the areas east of the river Mahakali belong to Nepal ".
In the letters sent to Modi and Xi, the politician notes that "the Kalapani territory [contested between Nepal and India - ed] where Lipulekh pass is located, is a sensitive topic that is closely related to Nepal’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and must be respected by all as such".
The leader of the Maoist party then reminded Modi of the formal agreement reached last year at the Forum for cooperation in South Asia, when Nepal and India agreed to settle all outstanding territorial disputes, including those concerning the territories of Kalapani and Susta (southern Nepal).
In the letter to Koirala, Pushpa wrote: "The UCPN-M calls on the government not to take the issues concerning national sovereignty and territorial integrity lightly. Kathmandu must take immediate diplomatic action to resolve the problem of Lipulekh in favor of our national interests. Until now the government has not proven to address the issue with due seriousness. This is a serious problem for the country. "