July 25, 2017 03:30 AM NPT
KATHMANDU, July 24: Drawing attention of the parliament to the ongoing standoff between neighboring India and China at their tri-junction border point with Bhutan over the Doklam plateau, a lawmaker from the main opposition CPN-UML has urged the government to make Nepal's position clear.
Speaking during the special hour of the House meeting on Monday, UML Vice President Yuvaraj Gyawali said Nepal urges both the countries to exercise restraint and maintain peace on the border as escalation of tension in Doklam plateau is likely affect Nepal as well.
“India and China are in a war of words for the last one month over the border dispute. Nepal has maintained silence on this issue so far. As our country is sandwiched between the two world powers, any escalation of tension between the two neighbors can cause huge loss to us,” said Gyawali.
This is the first time any lawmaker in parliament has raised Doklam issue. Although concerns are being raised from various quarters about of the fallout from the Indo-Chinese tension, Nepal has chosen to refrain from making any comments on the issue, terming the issue bilateral between India and China.
Gyawali said that the ongoing diplomatic efforts between the two countries to settle the dispute through dialogue has failed to achieve much as provocative statements in both the Indian and Chinese media seem to have aggravated the situation. “It seems tensions can flare at any time. Nepal's political parties must sit together to forge a common position on the issue. We also need to think about possible role we can play to neutralize the tension,” he said.
Stating that the USA, for instance, has already asked both the countries to exercise restraint, leader Gyawali asked the government to urge both the countries to maintain restraint, without aligning with any of the two neighbors. “Nepal is the birthplace of the Buddha. He was the messenger of peace for millions of people across the world. Buddha's teachings say that disputes should be settled peacefully,” Gyawali said. “I request the political parties and the government to urge both our neighbors to exercise restraint.”
Both Indian and Chinese sides have been claiming that both countries are now stronger than they were in 1962, the last time they fought a war over border dispute. China has claimed that Doklam dispute is a bilateral issue between Bhutan and China and has warned India to withdraw its forces from the plateau. However, India has positioned its military personnel, claiming that China had breached no man's land on the tri-junction to construct road.