The Nepali Cabinet on Monday (May 18) endorsed a new controversial map of the country that includes Indian territories of Lipulekh, Kalapani, and Limpiyadhura as its own. Last week Nepal President Bidhya Devi Bhandari addressing the joint session of the Parliament said new maps of the country will be published that will show all areas it considers as its own.
President Bhandari stated that Limpiyadhura, Lipulekh, and Kalapani region are Nepal’s territory and concrete diplomatic efforts will be taken towards reclaiming these territories. “An official map of Nepal will be published accordingly incorporating all the territories of Nepal,” he said.
Elaborating the Nepal government’s approach, he explained that the government of Nepal is committed to safeguarding the international borders of Nepal and outstanding border disputes with India will be resolved through diplomatic medium relying on available historical treaties, maps, facts, and evidence.
Kathmandu raised the chorus over the issue earlier this month when Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated a new road from Dharchula to Lipulekh so as to reduce the time taken for Kailash Mansarovar pilgrimage.
Following the development, Indian envoy to Nepal Vinay Mohan Kwatra was called by Nepal’s Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali to raise the matter.
India has clarified to Nepal on Lipulekh that the recently inaugurated road section in Pithoragarh district in Uttarakhand falls completely within the territory of India.
New Delhi sees an increased Chinese role in Nepal as a reason for current comments by Kathmandu.
On May 15, Army Chief General MM Naravane had stated that Nepal’s protest against a newly built Indian road in Uttarakhand, up to Lipulekh pass on the China border, was at ‘someone else’s behest’. His statement has been widely taken to mean that Nepal was acting as a proxy for China, at a time when tensions have spiked sharply on the LAC between the Chinese PLA and the Indian Army at Ladakh.
The ongoing dispute is not new and dates back to 1816 when under the Treaty of Sugauli, King of Nepal lost parts of its territory to the British including Kalapani and Lipulekh.