So Chanakya is up again and this time it’s the Kingdom of Nepal.

As reported by the Himalayan Times, after the Indian government inaugurated a link road to connect India with Mansarovar of China via Lipulekh region, a Nepali territory, various youth organisations in Kathmandu staged protests to mount pressure on their government to take necessary steps to make India return the territory.

As the Nepalese government and netizens started objecting to Indian infringement on their territory, the internet was abuzz with trends like #HandsOffNepal and #IndiaGoBack.

Indian ministry of External Affairs was quick in responding and claiming that the road follows an existing route over which pilgrims travel to perform Yatra in Kailash Mansarovar (in China) and thus it was an Indian territory.

Many may not know that India has a historical and consistent record of bad behaviour and creating border disputes with all its neighbours. As we have previously highlighted, India absorbed Hyderabad Deccan, Sikkim, Goa and Junagarh. It illegally occupies part of Jammu and Kashmir and Nagaland. It has fought wars with Pakistan and China and militarily intervened in Sri Lanka and Maldives. India has also stationed permanent forces in Bhutan, and has water disputes with Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan.

India has violated a number of treaties with its neighbours and has always deflected attention away from the opposing point of view through jugglery and Chanakyan tactics. The recent absurd policy of including Gilgit Baltistan and Azad Kashmir in weather bulletins is a case in point.

Coming back to the Indo-Nepal row on the Lipulekh road issue, according to the Economic Times, “the genesis of the conflict is that the Kalapani region lies in a junction bordering three countries – India, Nepal and China. Nepal and India both claim this region as part of their respective territories; India as part of Uttarakhand and Nepal as part of Darchula district. Complicating the matter is the Sugauli Treaty - signed between the East India Company and Nepal in 1816 – which marks the Mahakali river as the western border of Nepal…While India maintains that the river begins in the village of Kalapani, Nepal claims that it begins from Lipulekh Pass. The contention here is that if the Mahakali river - considered the border between India and Nepal - had a different point-of-origin, the areas under the countries’ respective borders would be skewed.”

The article goes on to say, “If the river began at the point Nepal claims – the Lipulekh Pass – then the Kalapani river would stretch longer, thereby affording a lengthier border between India and Nepal and giving India’s neighbour rights over the area of Kalapani. Nepal claims that the Limpiyadhura, Lipulekh and Kalapani areas shown in India’s maps lie within its territory.”

The Indian attempt to nibble Nepalese territory may have far reaching consequences for Indo Nepal bilateral relations as well as Indian diplomatic credibility in South Asia as a peaceful neighbour.

The Modi-Amit-Doval (MAD) circus has not realised that thousands of Gorkhas serve in Indian Army and other services; like the Sikh soldiers who revolted against Indian army in 80s, these Gorkha soldiers could also feel resentment in their rank and file, and may decide to adopt the path chosen by Sikh officers and soldiers after Operation Blue Star.

The Indo-Nepal treaty of 1950 is heavily tilted in Indian favour and because of her sheer size and military potential, India has violated it a number of times. Referring to Wikipedia comments, Nepalese law does not permit an open border, and Indians, by law, should not be able to buy lands and properties in Nepal or carry out businesses in their names. The 1950 treaty was signed by undemocratic rulers of Nepal and can be scrapped by a one-year notice. The treaty has been unpopular especially among Pahari segments of Nepal, who often regard it as a breach of its sovereignty.

India has repeatedly exploited mutual treaties and agreements with neighbours and Nepal is no exception. Almost all SAARC members, less Pakistan, have reluctantly cooperated with India because of its geographical centrality and coercive power. They may have to join hands to fight Indian aggressive posturing and arm twisting.a