News Digest: International Relations & Foreign Affairs (January 13 – 19, 2022)

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Traders and businesspersons protested the undeclared border blockade in Kerung and Tatopani checkpoints in Kathmandu on January 12. As per the customs office, only nine trucks from Kerung and 11 from Tatopani are allowed to enter Nepal. Previously, 200 to 250 containers of goods entered Nepal daily. Earlier, there used to be correspondence with Chinese counterparts. However, even that has halted since the Covid-19 crisis struck the country. 

Nepal sent 14 tons of humanitarian aid to Afghanistan on January 16. This was the first time Nepal provided humanitarian assistance to another country. Nepali industrialists and businesspersons, Nepal oil corporations, among others, were the contributors.

China has again claimed that there is no border dispute with Nepal. Chinese Embassy’s Spokesperson Xiaolong stated that Nepal has no border issues with China. Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Narayan Khadka and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi have had a virtual meeting on other matters, including the border.

Recently, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi stated that the Indian government is building a route to China’s Mansarovar via Lipulekh in Nepal in an election rally in Uttarakhand. The ruling alliance Nepali Congress, CPN (Maoist Center), and CPN (Unified Socialist) have voiced their discontent at the Indian Prime Minister’s statement. They have also urged the government to take prompt diplomatic initiatives to resolve the matter.

The government’s spokesperson stated that the Nepal government has requested the Indian government to halt unauthorized road construction/expansion into Nepal’s territory.

The international relations experts have suggested that Nepal initiate diplomatic dialogue with India and China to resolve outstanding border disputes in Lipulekh, kalapani, and Limpiyadhura.

The Indian embassy issued a statement on January 15. It stated that India’s position on the Kalapani, Lipulekh and Limpiyadhura border issues are well known, consistent, and unambiguous. The statement also mentioned that communication and dialogues could be done most appropriately through an intergovernmental mechanism. These issues can always be addressed based on the spirit of our close and friendly bilateral relations.

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