New Delhi: Nepal has activated all diplomatic channels with India to resume a dialogue on boundary issues following a row over the new Indian map, which shows the disputed Kalapani area as part of Uttarakhand.
There has been a spate of protests in Nepal ever since the new map was released. A cross section of Nepalese political parties have taken up the matter with India’s envoy to Kathmandu Manjeev Singh Puri, and the Nepalese ambassador to India, Nilamber Acharya, met Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale last week to discuss the issue.
Ambassador Mr Nilamber Acharya had a meeting with the Foreign Secretary of India Mr Vijay Gokhale at the latter's office on November 8, 2019. Matters of bilateral relations were discussed, including boundary issue.
— Nepal Embassy, India (@EONIndia) November 11, 2019
‘Kalapani concerns China too’
According to sources, Nepal has informed India that any boundary dialogue on Kalapani will also concern China since it is a trijunction where Indian, Nepalese and Tibetan (Chinese) borders meet.
While 97 per cent of the border between India and Nepal has been demarcated, the portions on Kalapani and Susta remain unmarked. Both India and Nepal claim Kalapani as an integral part of their territories — India as part of Uttarakhand’s Pithoragarh district and Nepal as part of the Darchula district.
In 2014, a joint working group on boundary talks was given a fresh lease of life. The same year, when Narendra Modi made his maiden visit as Prime Minister to the country, he assured Nepal that the issues would be resolved, said sources. The PM also directed the joint working group to come together and discuss the issue.
After the Eminent Persons Group (EPG) on Nepalese-Indian relations was formed in 2016, both countries said the panel would suggest ways to resolve the border dispute. The EPG is yet to submit its report to the two prime ministers
The Kalapani issue emerged again on 2 November as India issued new maps in light of Jammu & Kashmir’s bifurcation into two union territories. The Nepalese Minister for Information and Communication, Gokul Baskota, who is also the government spokesperson, had said at the time that Kathmandu had sufficient proof that Kalapani belonged to Nepal.
“In 1961, Nepal had conducted a census in Lipulekh area and there were Nepali revenue offices, so it is Nepal land,” he had added.
Meanwhile, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said last week that the new map “accurately depicts the sovereign territory of India. “The new map has in no manner revised our boundary with Nepal,” he added.