The former chief of India’s main opposition Congress Party, Rahul Gandhi, on Tuesday asked the federal government to clarify the border dispute with Nepal and the skirmishes with China. In a virtual press conference, Gandhi said that while he would not indulge in nit-picking on the issue, the government should take political parties and people into confidence.
“The government should explain to the nation, what is the border dispute, how it flared up now, because nobody has clarity on the issue. Why the dispute has happened with Nepal, what is happening in Ladakh, the government should come out transparently, which is missing”, said Rahul Gandhi.
#WATCH Details of the border issue, what happened and how, the government should tell the nation in a transparent manner because there is no clarity. What happened in Nepal and how, what is happening in Ladakh and how... there should be transparency: Rahul Gandhi pic.twitter.com/oc7CEoooKL— ANI (@ANI) May 26, 2020
According to media reports, both the sides have engaged in at least six rounds of talks at a local level, besides diplomatic efforts to defuse the situation. But so far there has been no solution to the differences.
Meanwhile, there are also reports that New Delhi has enhanced its surveillance along the entire border with China to monitor any attempts of transgression by the Chinese Army.
Tensions between the two armies have flared up since the last week of April, after Chinese personnel entered the LAC with a vehicle, but the Indian Army confronted them, and the matter was resolved.
But the situation escalated in early May, when the two neighbours became embroiled in a physical altercation over infrastructure development along the 4,000 km LAC. Over a dozen troops from both sides were injured in clashes at Pangong Tso Lake in eastern Ladakh on 5 May, followed by Naku La in Sikkim on 9 May. However, there was no official confirmation of the incident.
On 14 May, India’s Foreign Office termed the flare-up as a “difference in perception of the alignment of the LAC”.
“The two sides have established mechanisms to resolve such situations as and when they arise, including Border Personnel Meetings, Flag Meetings, and a Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs as well as diplomatic channels”, said a spokesperson for India’s External Affairs Ministry.
In 2017, the Indian Armed Forces and the People's Liberation Army of China were locked in a 73-day-long standoff on the disputed Doklam Plateau, which exists as a tri-junction at the border that separates India, Bhutan, and China. Two months later, both sides announced that they had pulled out all their armed forces from the area.
Tension between India and Nepal arose after Kathmandu accused New Delhi of encroaching on 330 sq. km of land called Kalapani near its western tri-junction with India and China. The dispute resulted in street protests, agitated the parliament, and the Nepalese government has issued a map showing Kalapani as its territory.
New Delhi sharply reacted to the inclusion of Kalapani as part of Nepal and asked Kathmandu to "refrain from such unjustified cartographic assertion and respect India's sovereignty and territorial integrity". India’s External Affairs Ministry asserted that "Such artificial enlargement of territorial claims will not be accepted by India".