New Delhi: While the Chinese government is flooding Nepal with billions of dollars, ostensibly to develop infrastructure in that country, it is continuing to indulge in salami slicing of land patches belonging to Nepal along the border areas of the two countries.
The latest such incident has been reported from the Ruila border post of Chumanubri Village-1 of Gorkha district, with the Chinese administration erecting a 200-meter fencing and a gate on a stretch which was in Nepal until last week, but has now come under Chinese occupation following the fencing.
According to local sources, till last month, the stretch was not demarcated or fenced. This border stretch was used by locals to move from one village to the other without any hindrance, but since last month, Chinese soldiers who are posted at the fenced areas are not allowing the people from Nepal to cross over to what they describe as the “Chinese side”.
Nepali newspaper Annapurna Post had first reported this incident. The Sunday Guardian reached out to the Nepalese Foreign Minister for a response on this matter. However, no response was received till this report went to press. The same tactics were resorted to by the Chinese in Ladakh, India, which led to a pushback from India that resulted in the death of 20 Indian soldiers and innumerable Chinese ones in Galwan in June 2020.
This is not the first time that China has carried out such slicing of land belonging to Nepal. In June 2020, even as the world was engaged in fighting the pandemic, it emerged that China had encroached on at least 28 hectares of Nepali land spread across the four districts of Humla, Rasuwa, Sankhuwasabha and Sindhupalchok. China has also occupied an entire village, Rui, which comes under the Gorkha district. This was done by the Chinese by simply shifting the border pillars that demarcate one side from the other. Due to this, approximately 190 households in Nepal’s Gorkha district became a part of the “Chinese territory”.
It is pertinent to mention here that the much delayed China-Nepal railways project will also be passing through Rasuwa. In March this year, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi had met Nepal Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and Foreign Minister Dr Narayan Khadaka with a request to ensure that the project, which was signed in 2016, is completed on time. The two sides had signed nine agreements in March, two of which were related to the railway project. This project is considered to be one of the important projects that China is building in Nepal.
International experts have been repeatedly issuing warning to Nepal not to fall into the “debt-trap” of China, which extends financial help at a very low rate initially, but then moves into taking control of immovable assets in the debtor country when the country defaults on its payments, something that Sri Lanka and Pakistan are experiencing at the hands of the Chinese.