New Delhi: Tensions over border dispute between India and Nepal deepened Monday as Kathmandu summoned Indian envoy Vinay Mohan Kwatra over New Delhi’s “sudden” announcement of a new link road to Kailash Mansarovar using Lipulekh Pass and handed over a “diplomatic note”.
In a tweet, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Nepal said, “Foreign Minister Hon. @PradeepgyawaliK(Pradeep Gyawali) conveyed Government of Nepal’s position on boundary issues to Ambassador of India to Nepal H.E. Mr. Vinay Mohan Kwatra at a meeting held at MoFA today and handed over a diplomatic note in this regard.”
Foreign Minister Hon. @PradeepgyawaliK conveyed Government of Nepal's position on boundary issues to Ambassador of India to Nepal H.E. Mr. Vinay Mohan Kwatra at a meeting held at MoFA today and handed over a diplomatic note in this regard.
— MOFA of Nepal 🇳🇵 (@MofaNepal) May 11, 2020
The move came a day after Gyawali said he has asked India to “refrain from carrying out any activity inside the territory of Nepal”.
The latest border row between India and Nepal started with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurating a road in the Pithoragarh district of Uttarakhand, as New Delhi said the road is “within the territory of India”. Nepal has objected to the road as Lipulekh, through which the link passes, as part of its own territory.
According to a source, it was “completely unnecessary” on Nepal’s part to summon the Indian envoy when it has already been assured of foreign secretary-level talks once the Covid-19 pandemic situation stabilises.
A second source said Nepal is upset because India chose to inaugurate the new road without holding the talks, which were agreed upon between the two sides in July 2014 when former Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj had visited Nepal.
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However, despite a subsequent visit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Nepal in August in the same year, the mechanism was never put in place even as he gave a renewed push to settle the Kalapani and Susta boundary disputes between the two sides.
These issues come even as Nepal has been pushing India to “seriously consider” implementing the Eminent Persons’ Group (EPG) report on Nepal-India relations, which was finalised in 2018.
On Sunday, in response to the Indian statement claiming territorial ownership, Gyawali had said Nepal remains committed to “seeking diplomatic solutions to boundary issues on the basis of the historical treaties, documents, facts and maps in keeping with the spirit of close and friendly ties between the two countries”.
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