Himalayan conflicts serve US plans to confront China
Written by: Nick G. on 7 October 2020
Comrade Sanjay Singhvi, of the Asian Coordinating Group of the International Coordination of Revolutionary Parties and Organisations (ICOR) has circulated statements by two affiliated parties on a growing conflict between India and Nepal.
Although confined to a small area of disputed land, both the Nepal Communist Party (Mashal) and the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Red Star have warned that the conflict is in danger of being internationalised, with US imperialism encouraging Indian expansionism in provocations which will intensify its current tensions with China.
The area in dispute includes Kalapani, a section of territory through which Indian Buddhist and Jain pilgrims access sacred Mt Kailash and Lake Mansarovar in the Tibet Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China.
British rulers recognised Nepal’s right to the region that fell to the east of the river Kali in the Treaty of Sugauli. This was signed between the Gurkha rulers of Kathmandu and the East India Company after the Gurkha War/Anglo-Nepal War (1814-16).
India disputes Nepal’s claims to the Kalapani region and issued a new political map on November 2nd, 2019, putting Nepal’s land of about 372.37 square kilometres inside India. This was followed by construction of a new road to Lipulekh, gateway to Kailash-Masarovar in Tibet.
Nepal claims that both India and China were in clear violation of Nepal’s sovereignty during the 2015 Lipulekh agreement that renewed India’s Mansarovar pilgrimage connection. Neither side consulted Nepal or sought its opinion before that agreement that boosted pilgrimage and trade to Tibet.
Yet sections of the Indian military and government are claiming that China is behind Nepal’s protests about India’s actions.
The Nepalese and Indian Parties share a common analysis of the implications of this conflict.
According to the Nepal Communist Party (Mashal), “The strategic value of occupying Kalapani for India is in large part to gain an advantage against China. It is also notable that India and China in the past have entered a treaty over the use of Lipulekh for their trade route in the absence of Nepal. However, Nepal has categorically said that Lipulekh cannot be the junction between India and China without consent of Nepal.”
The CPI (M-L) Red Star points out: “(The Indian Army) has dragged China also in to this dispute, and as US hurriedly came forward supporting India and accusing China, these border skirmishes have given an international character to the dispute… Naturally, US exploit the situation, trying to provoke a proxy war between India and China, to settle its own contradictions with it. It shows how under Modi India is dragged in to a situation in which the Indian army may be used as cannon fodder in another conflict with China, to serve US interests.”
Whilst most fears of conflict leading to war in our region focus on the South China Seas, the 2017 border clash at Doklam between India and China, and the ongoing tensions between the two over the “Line of Actual Control” at Ladakh, show the potential for war in the Himalayas. Adding the Indian-Nepal dispute does little to lessen those fears, particularly when US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, speaking yesterday with his Japanese, Indian and Australian counterparts in Tokyo, said cooperation against Beijing was now more critical than ever.
It would clearly suit Pompeo and US imperialism to have one or more of the “Quad” partners provoke China into a military response that US imperialism can feed into without appearing to be its cause.
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