Diplomactic skills requisite, taking to the streets won’t yield results: Former Minister Bhatta

KATHMANDU, Nov 10: Ruling Nepali Communist Party (NCP) central committee member and former Minister Lekhraj Bhatta said that both Kalapani and Lipulek are part of Nepal and that history bears witness to this fact. He also said that we need a diplomatic channel in order to resolve this issue.

Speaking at a special press interaction program organized by the Reporters Club on the 8th of November former Minister Bhatta also said that “we need a long term vision and skillful diplomacy in order to resolve the border dispute”.

“The foreign ministry should have summoned the Ambassador and asked for a clarification on the matter, but that did not happen”. I had raised this issue back in 2015 when India and China agreed to open a trading point without consulting Nepal.

I had opposed the decision then and had spoken at that period at the Reporters Club. “We have to learn from our weakness, the citizens, political parties, and the organs of the government have to be united and move forward diplomatically in order to resolve the issue. We have to find a solution to this dispute, but we are not going to achieve much if we take it to the streets.

We have to study the entire historical incidents and identify the weak spots that have led to this problem and then find an amicable solution.

When the Sino-Indian war took place and the Indian military stationed their unit in the area of Kalapani, Nepal Army (NA) should have been allowed to station a unit too. The previous governments did little to resolve this dispute. He also accepted that his government too did not do much in order to resolve this dispute.

Lipulek and Kalapani are integral parts of Nepal. There is numerous historical evidence that supports the fact, from maps to historical documents, in British written accounts, numerous maps, and in the Kanchanpur government office in Nepal to there is evidence that supports that the land is rightfully ours. We have to now stake a claim and prepare well in order to take it up further.

Our party is in power, we cannot take to the streets, and we have to move forward in a partisan way through channels within the party. The two PM’s should speak to each other, we should have sent a representative, activate our Ambassador there, and take clarification from the Indian Ambassador here. We should have the courage to take these bold steps but none of it has happened.

The press release on the issue taken out by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not mention a name and neither a stamp, why? The Prime Minister should have given clear directives regarding this. More than the streets now is the time to move forward through diplomatic channels.

The Government of Nepal should show diplomatic skills in order to tackle the issue but that is lacking in our political leaders. I had raised the issue of 2015 within the party of the issue of the agreement of the Prime Minister of India and the President of China when they unilaterally signed the agreement on Lipulek.

We are not going to achieve anything by taking to the streets, the matter won’t be resolved. We have done this in the past and yielded no results. We need diplomatic skills to resolve this problem, to apply pressure through street protests is one thing, but long term all political parties have to unite for the nation and move forward diplomatically to resolve the border dispute”, he said.