Border dispute issue with China raised at Congress senior leaders’ meetingDeuba has assured that a task force would be formed to study the matter, Nidhi says.
After some senior members sought to know the government's position on border disputes with China, Prime Minister and Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur on Thursday said he would form a task force to look into the issue.
During a meeting with senior leaders, ahead of the party’s Central Working Committee meeting, questions were raised as to why the government’s Common Minimum Programme, prepared by seven members of the ruling alliance, failed to include the boundary dispute with China, particularly in Humla district.
Bimalendra Nidhi, who was present in the meeting, told the Post that Nepal should be sensitive about its boundary issues both with India and China and must seek a solution through bilateral talks.
“While the border issues with India have been incorporated into the government’s Common Minimum Programme, similar concerns relating to China have not,” said Nidhi.
Deuba had called a meeting of senior leaders to solicit views on holding the party’s 14th general convention and the Common Minimum Programme (CMP), among others.
Nidhi said the CMP while categorically talks about boundary issues with India, including Kalapani, Lipulekh and Limpiyadhura, it has not said anything on the border issue, especially in Humla, with China, which was reported by the party’s own members, Jeevan Bahadur Shai, a member of Karnali Provincial Assembly.
After a field visit of border areas with China, Shahi in October last year had submitted a report to the party headquarters saying some parts of Nepal had been encroached upon by China Namkha Rural Municipality of Humla.
In his report, Shahi had reported that boundary pillars numbering 9, 10, 11, 12, 5 (1), 6 (1), 7 (1) and 8 (1) were damaged and pillar No. 12 was replaced with a new one. With the installation of pillar No. 12 inside the Nepali territory, a large chunk of Nepali land has slipped into the Chinese territory, Shahi wrote in his report.
“Our own provincial lawmaker Jeevan Bahadur Shahi had reported about the border dispute,” said Nidhi. “But the party has failed to take up the issue. This must have figured in the CMP.”
After the report was made public, the Chinese embassy in Kathmandu had written to the Nepali Congress, protesting the charges that China had encroached upon the Nepali territory.
An internal report prepared by the Home Ministry also found that there were some disputes in border areas in Humla. The report, however, was never made public.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, however, ruled out any boundary dispute with China.
According to Nidhi, after listening to concerns regarding the government’s position on boundary issues with China, Deuba has pledged to form a high-level task force to study the matter.
“The prime minister has assured us that such a task force would be formed by the Cabinet,” Nidhi told the Post.
Later in the day, the party held its Central Working Committee meeting to discuss the 14th general convention.
According to leaders, the party is planning to defer the convention at least for two to three months, as it has become almost impossible to hold it on September 1-4 as per an earlier plan.
Failure to hold the convention by the third week of September, the Congress runs the risk of getting invalidated, as it has already exhausted the provisions provided for by the law to extend the term of its elected bodies.
“Before proposing the new timeline to hold the convention from ward to central level, we have to resolve the dispute over the party’s active membership,” said Arjun Nar Singh KC, a senior party leader.