During a visit to Mustang, Indian Ambassador Rakesh Sood inaugurated a new water tank for a monsatic school, the Shree Mahakaruna Sakyapa Vidyalaya in Lomangthan, Upper Mustang. A Maoist newspaper claimed that the real reason for Sood’s visit was to spy on China.
The Government of India had earlier provided a grant of NRs. 2.51 crores [US$ 341,000] for the construction of school building, hostel, monk’s quarter and teacher’s quarter, which was completed in October, 2006. India has now provided additional grant of NRs.10.88 lakhs [US$ 15,000] for the construction of a water tank to to solve to school’s water supply problem. The project is funded under the India-Nepal Economic Cooperation Programme, which has an outlay over 2560 crores.
Mustang, Nepal’s northernmost district, was part of an ancient Tibetan kingdom in the past and shares a border with Tibet. In the past, after China invaded Tibet, the Buddhist kingdom’s Khampa soldiers loyal to the Dalai Lama had waged a guerrilla war against the Chinese rulers from Mustang.
China remains anxious about Mustang and in the recent past, the Chinese ambassador to Nepal, Qiu Guhong, had also visited the district.
“A jumbo Indian team including envoy Rakesh Sood arrived in the mountainous district of Mustang Friday to spy on China in the name of inspecting the progress of the development projects funded by the Indian government,” Nepali daily Janadisha, the Maoist mouthpiece, said. It also said that the team was in Mustang to assess the influence of the Chinese government in the area.
The ambassador, who was scheduled to go trekking in Mustang after the handover ceremonies, however cut his visit short and headed for Kathmandu Tuesday. It was not known immediately if his return was the fallout of the Maoist propaganda.