China funds anti-India protests along Indo-Nepal border

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BY SUMIT KUMAR SINGH
New Delhi, Sep 3 (IANS)
China has paid Rs 2.5 crore (in Nepali currency) to various organisations based in Nepal to carry out demonstrations against India along the Indo-Nepal border that stretches to over 1,700 km, intelligence agencies said.
“Chinese Embassy in Nepal has provided financial support to the tune of Rs 2.5 crore (NPR) for organising anti-India protests/demonstrations along India-Nepal border areas highlighting the recent border disputes and interferences of India in Nepal’s internal/political matters,” the agencies stated. NPR stands for Nepalese Rupee.
The India-Nepal relation has been strained after China increased its influence on the Himalayan nation.
It was India’s road construction to the Lipulekh at 17,000 feet that had sparked a diplomatic row between India and Nepal as Kathmandu claimed the area to be its territory. Lipulekh is a tri-junction between India, Nepal and China situated atop the Kalapani Valley in Uttarakhand.
The road construction was aimed at shortening travel time for pilgrims visiting the Kailash Mansarovar.
After this, Nepal brought out a new political map showing the contested area as its own.
India rejected the new map saying it was not based on historical facts or evidence. The new political map of Nepal features parts of Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura areas which are in Indian territory. Nepal also increased its force deployment across the Indo-Nepal border. It has also planned to increase the number of border posts (BOPs) from 120 to 500 along the 1,751-km border.
“Taking the strained relationship of India-Nepal as an opportunity, China, which is already having a border dispute with India in Eastern Ladakh, increased its troop deployment at Lipulekh,” said a senior government officer.
China has deployed 150 Light Combined Arms Brigade and it was moved in August to Lipulekh tri-junction. China had also reinforced troops in Pala, around 10 km from Indian border.
In July itself, around 1,000 troops were deployed near Pala and a permanent post was built there by China. In August, 2,000 more additional troops were deployed at the post.
India too directed its armed forces to increase deployment at Lipulekh tri-junction. Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), which guards the Indo-Nepal and Indo-Bhutan border, has increased deployment of 30 companies along the border with Nepal.
India has called for more vigilance on the India-Nepal border and the tri-junction areas in Uttarakhand and Sikkim, sources said, and extra troops have been sent to strengthen security in some of these areas.
The Nepal government has also directed its forces to “closely monitor” the activities of Indian Army at Lipulekh area amid escalating India and China border tension.
India and China have been locked in a standoff at multiple points since May.
China had changed the status quo on the Line of Actual Control at various places, moving inside Indian territories. India has objected to it and is taking up the matter with China at all levels.

(Sumit Kumar Singh can be reached at sumit.k@ians.in)

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