BY AARTI TIKOO SINGH
New Delhi/Kathmandu, Aug 7 (IANS) Needling India further, the K.P. Oli-led Nepal government has started the construction of a helipad at a disputed site in Bihar besides beginning the installation of 360-degree CCTV cameras in a no-man’s land near Uttarakhand along the India-Nepal border.
Official sources said that the Nepal government has started the construction of a helipad near the Valmiki Tiger Reserve (VTR) in Bihar’s West Champaran district and the installation of CCTV cameras near Uttarakhand’s Rudraprayag district.
The latest aggression follows the Oli government’s decision to include certain parts of Uttarakhand in its new political map. The Nepalese Parliament passed the New Map Amendment Bill (Coat of Arms) to update its map which shows strategically important Indian areas of Kalapani, Lipulekh and Limpiyadhura as part of Nepal.
Sources in Nepal said that the hostility against India is an outcome of the fact that K.P. Oli wants to continue as the Prime Minister even as his two-and-a-half-year tenure in office is over under a pre-decided power-sharing agreement with his party co-leader and Nepalese Communist Party co-chairman P.K. Dahal, also known as Prachanda.
Backed by senior leaders Madhav Kumar Nepal and Jhalanath Khanal, Prachanda has been asking Oli to step down both as party chair and Prime Minister. Oli’s opponents within his own party, sources said, feel that Oli has concentrated power even as he is critically ill following a second kidney transplant recently. His Communist colleagues have criticised him for using the nationalistic card against India to ensure that he stays in power.
Oli claims that his colleagues are being supported by India even though it is the Chinese ambassador to Nepal, Hou Yonqi, who has been meeting the who’s who of Kathmandu to keep Oli in power.
Prime Minister Oli’s political ambitions, which are fanned and backed by the Xi Jinping government in China, has not only strained Nepal’s bilateral relations with India, but have also pitted Nepal as an ally of China against the US in their cold war.
Nepal’s 65 per cent imports come from its civilizational and historical ally India and around 13 per cent from China. Thousands of Nepalese are employed in India because of low job opportunities in Nepal.
Sources said the talks between Oli and Prachanda have remained inconclusive with the former refusing to step down from any of the positions. The Dahal faction is now insisting on its ‘one individual, one post’ policy but Oli remains adamant on being both the Prime Minister and the Chairman of the Nepalese Communist Party.
Amid the political crisis, Prime Minister Oli is attempting to build pressure on India by opening several border disputes at the behest of China, sources said.
BY AARTI TIKOO SINGH