Tension escalates between India and Nepal over a ‘new map’


Photo: iStock
Photo: iStock

INDIA has reacted sharply to Nepal releasing new map saying that the action is unjustified cartographic assertion. India’s reaction came hours after the Nepal government released a revised political and administrative map of the country.

A cabinet meeting on Monday (18) in Nepal decided to publish a new map that includes Lipu Lekh and zones in Kalapani and Limpiyadhura

Reacting to the move, India said that such artificial enlargement of territorial claims will not be acceptable to it and asked the neighbouring country to refrain from “unjustified cartographic assertion”.

The new political and administrative map of Nepal unveiled by the government (Photo:Twitter)

“This unilateral act is not based on historical facts and evidence. It is contrary to the bilateral understanding to resolve the outstanding boundary issues through diplomatic dialogue,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said.

“Such artificial enlargement of territorial claims will not be accepted by India.”

Srivastava also asked Nepal to respect India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, hoping that the Nepalese leadership will create a positive atmosphere for diplomatic dialogue to resolve the outstanding boundary issues.

“Nepal is well aware of India’s consistent position on this matter and we urge the government of Nepal to refrain from such unjustified cartographic assertion and respect India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” he said.

The Lipulekh pass is a far western point near Kalapani, a disputed border area between Nepal and India. Both India and Nepal claim Kalapani as an integral part of their territory – India as part of Uttarakhand’s Pithoragarh district and Nepal as part of Dharchula district.

Nepal claims the pass under an 1816 treaty that sets the boundary with India along the Kali River, but disputes have arisen because neither side can agree its source.

Nepal foreign minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali last week summoned Indian ambassador Vinay Mohan Kwatra and handed over a diplomatic note to protest against India inaugurating a key road connecting the Lipulekh pass with Dharchula in Uttarakhand.

India has maintained that the road section in Pithoragarh district in Uttarakhand lies completely within its territory.   Days later, Indian Army chief Gen MM Naravane said that there were reasons to believe that Nepal objected to the road at the behest of “someone else”, in an apparent reference to a possible role by China on the matter.