Nepal made headlines a few weeks ago. This when it ventured to showcase its political map, that included territories that belonged to India, also known as the disputed areas. To give context, India and this neighbouring Nation has 3 said disputed areas - Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura, lying in Uttarakhand. These have long since been a subject of controversy. The new map that showed the sliver of land, comprising these 3 areas, was published in May, at an occasion that was said to be ‘historically pleasant’ for Nepal and its people.
Nepal’s new map
On June 18, Nepal came up with its finished political map. The map included the 3 disputed areas of Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura. However, this inclusion of disputed areas in its map, could sever its bilateral ties with India. Previously, India had taken a stand and termed this ‘artificial enlargement’ of the Nepal map as ‘untenable’.
What’s more is that the second Constitution Amendment Bill, passed by both Houses of Nepal’s Parliament, and authenticated by President Bidya Devi Bhandari, approved the new Nepal map. The National Assembly on Sunday, tabled the Bill to amend the Constitution to update the new map. This a day after the House of Representatives unanimously endorsed it. All 57 members of the national assembly who were present in the house, voted in favour of the new inclusion. This included Radheshyam Ashikari, leader of the parliamentary party in the national assembly of the main opposition Nepali Congress. He said Kalaplani and Lipulekh are part of Nepal. This, according to the Sugauli Treaty of 1816 signed between Nepal and the British Indian government. The Indian Army should be withdrawn from Kalapani, he urged.
This isn’t all. The upper house of the Nepalese parliament also unanimously passed the constitution amendment Bill. According to this, the national emblem could include the disputed areas that were included in the Nepal map.
What India has to say
Responding to this, the Ministry of External Affairs said that these enlargements of territorial claims will not be accepted by India. Spokesperson of the MEA, Anurag Srivastava said “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 issues.”
However, Dinanath Sharma, parliamentary party leader of the ruling Nepal Communist Party in the national assembly said, “India should prove itself a good neighbour by handing over the Nepali territories it has encroached upon,”
He further added, “Nepalese people have once again stood united at this particular time in favour of the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”