Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday, 15 June, said if there is any misunderstanding between India and Nepal, then "we will sort it out through dialogue", two days after Nepal's House of Representatives passed a controversial bill introducing a new map, which includes Indian territories.
"The relation between India and Nepal is not an ordinary one. We are bound together by 'roti-beti' and no power in the world can break it," he was quoted by PTI as saying at Uttarakhand's 'Jan Samvad' virtual rally.
Calling the road built in Lipulekh a part of Indian territory, the defence minister said:
"Earlier pilgrims used to go to Mansarovar through route of Nathula Pass. It was a longer route, but now, the Border Roads Organisation has built a link road till Lipulekh. This has brought a new route to Mansarovar... It is an 80-km-long road, built in the Indian region. Some misconception has risen in Nepal regarding this road. But I would like to say that as far as Nepal is concerned, we not only have social, geographical, historical or cultural relations with them, but also a devotional relation. India can never forget this...” he said.
“If any misconception has risen among the people of Nepal due to construction of the road from Lipulekh to Dharchula, then we'll find a solution by sitting together and having a dialogue. But I can confidently say that there can never be bitterness among Indians towards Nepal," he added.
As per the new map under the bill, areas of Kalapani, Limpiyadhura and Lipulekh –which are on the Indian map – belong to Nepal. The bill also seeks to update the map in the national emblem.
India's Ministry of External Affairs had earlier called the move "not tenable".
“This artificial enlargement of claims is not based on historical fact or evidence and is not tenable. It is also violative of our current understanding to hold talks on outstanding boundary issue,” the MEA had said.
(With inputs from PTI and ANI.)