Nepal Seeks Talks With India As It Tables New Map in Parliament

The passage of the Bill is expected to intensify the diplomatic crisis between India and Nepal.

Published09 Jun 2020, 12:20 PM IST
2 min read

The Nepal government is in the final stages of passing a Bill which amends its constitution to adopt a new map to include disputed regions of Limpiyadhura, Lipulekh and Kalapani. The Bill is expected to come up for discussion in the lower house of the Nepal Parliament on Tuesday 9 June.

While the Nepal Parliament deliberates this controversial move, newsy agency ANI quoted Nepal Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali, saying:

“Nepal seeking to hold discussions with India. There is no other option than that.”

The Associated Press reported that Nepal’s foreign minister said Tuesday the country was still waiting for a response from India on holding talks to resolve a border dispute which has strained relations between the South Asian neighbours.

The passage of the Bill is expected to intensify the diplomatic crisis between India and Nepal.

The Bill for a New Map

The Bill was tabled by Law Minister Shivamaya Tumbahamphe on Sunday, 31 May. The Bill seeks legal status for an updated map of the country that claims parts of the Indian territory. The Nepalese government has been saying that the areas of Kalapani, Limpiyadhura, and Lipulek – which are on the Indian map – belong to them.

The Lipulekh pass is a far western point situated near Kalapani which is a disputed border area between India and Nepal. Both countries claim that Kalapani is a part of their territory. India says it comes under Uttarakhand’s Pithoragarh district while Nepal says it is a part of their Dharchula district.

The government moved the Bill after it was assured of a two-thirds majority in the House of Representatives, following the decision of the main opposition Nepali Congress to support it.

The Escalation

On 13 May, Nepal deployed Armed Police Force (APF) near Kalapani at Chhangru, on the Nepalese side of the border. The troop deployment by Nepal is in response to India’s construction of a strategically crucial link road in Uttarakhand, connecting the Lipulekh pass along the border with China.

Following these developments, hinting at China's possible role, Indian Army Chief General M M Naravane said there is reason to believe that Nepal's recent objection was "at the behest of someone else". This resulted in sour relations between the two neighbours.

India Maintains Silence

India continues to remain silent even as Nepal is closer to passing the controversial Bill. Despite the offers to conduct talks from Nepal, so far there has not been any response from the Indian side.

Meanwhile, according to a report in The Hindu, Nepal is expected to host a large delegation of personnel from the medical unit of China’s People’s Liberation Army to deal with the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic.

We'll get through this! Meanwhile, here's all you need to know about the Coronavirus outbreak to keep yourself safe, informed, and updated.

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