Nepal's Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli, while addressing the nation on Monday, said for the second time that COVID-19 cases are increasing in Nepal due to an unchecked flow from India.
“The virus which came from Wuhan is not so tough. The virus [which] came from Italy was also not so tough, from Dubai also was not so tough. But the infection is seen [as] tough in infected who came from India”, said PM Oli last week on the coronavirus.
India tried to brush it off, with sources telling Sputnik: “He appears to have used it in the context that [the] infection [that] came from India is widespread”.
As of Monday, Nepal has recorded 675 cases of COVID-19 and three deaths, according to the Ministry of Health and Population.
The prime minister’s remark comes against the backdrop of deteriorating relations between the otherwise peaceful neighbours. Kathmandu summoned an Indian diplomat after India inaugurated the strategic route connecting to the Chinese border at the Lipulek Pass. It asked India to refrain from encroachment.
Nepal has accused India of encroaching 330 sq. km of land called Kalapani near Nepal’s western tri-junction with India and China. The dispute has resulted in street protests, agitated the parliament, and now the Nepalese government issuing its map showing Kalapani as its territory.
New Delhi sharply reacted to the inclusion of Kapapani as part of Nepal and asked Kathmandu to "refrain from such unjustified cartographic assertion and respect India's sovereignty and territorial integrity".
"We hope that the Nepalese leadership will create a positive atmosphere for diplomatic dialogue to resolve the outstanding boundary issues", said a spokesperson for India's External Affairs Ministry last week and asserted that "Such artificial enlargement of territorial claims will not be accepted by India".