Gen. Thapa has maintained a cautious distance from the dispute that erupted in May
Nepalese army chief General Purna Chandra Thapa on Wednesday began a visit of the westernmost border outpost of the forces in the Sudurpaschim Pradesh near the disputed Kalapani region. This is the General’s first visit to the area after the border dispute erupted with India in May.
Nepal set up a new outpost at Chharung manned by the Nepal Armed Police Force last month after India inaugurated the Darchula-Lipulekh link road on May 8.
General Thapa, who has maintained a cautious distance from the dispute so far, was accompanied by I-G of the Nepal Armed Police Force Shailendra Khanal. Official sources in Kathmandu said both were on a visit to the frontier. He is expected to stop at the Nepal army base camp at Ghanti Bazaar and inspect a temporary base camp near the border.
The visit comes a day before the upper house of Nepal’s parliament had passed the Second Constitution Amendment 2077 to legalise the new political map which depicts the Kalapani region as part of their territory. The region is known for the strategic Lipulekh pass that connects India with China’s Tibet Autonomous Region and has special significance in view of the tension between Indian and Chinese forces at the Galwan Valley of Ladakh.
India-Nepal relations saw some heated moments last month when Army chief General Manoj Naravane said China was behind Nepal’s claims over the Limpiyadhura-Lipulekh-Kalapani region. The Nepalese army had refused to respond to the comments saying such issues were not part of its mandate. The Nepal-India border at Sitamarhi district of Bihar witnessed violence on June 12 which left one Indian national dead in firing by the Nepal Armed Police Force.
The Nepalese lower house, Pratinidhi Sabha, has already passed the Amendment unanimously and the legislative process will be completed on Thursday before the bill is made part of the constitution.
With inputs from The Hindu