File image of Nepalese PM K.P. Sharma Oli with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi | Photo: ANI
File image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi with his Nepalese counterpart K.P. Sharma Oli | Representational image | ANI
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New Delhi: Nepal Friday said it is in “regular” touch with India to resolve the map row as Kathmandu wants to discuss the matter through diplomatic channels.

“We are in regular touch with the Indian side,” Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali said at a parliamentary committee.

He, however, said both sides are yet to finalise a date for formal talks on the border issue, which has now turned into a full-fledged row between the two neighbours.

“Date and modality of informal talks are not fixed yet, but we are in constant touch with the Indian side… We want to resolve the issue through diplomatic means,” Gyawali said.

The K.P.S. Oli government has also decided that the constitutional amendment bill on revising their new political map in their national emblem — a move that India feels is “damaging” to Kathmandu’s cause and shrinking the room for bilateral talks on the boundary issue — will be tabled again depending on what decision the Nepali Congress takes Saturday.

A meeting of the Central working Committee has also been called, local media reports stated.


Also read: Mocking Indian emblem, redrawing Nepal map, KP Oli’s adventures are growing


India’s version

Gyawali’s statement comes a day after the Ministry of External Affair (MEA) stated that New Delhi attaches great importance to the deep-rooted historical, cultural and friendly relations with Nepal.

“On the recent developments on boundary issue, we continue to monitor the situation in Nepal. We note that this matter is receiving careful consideration in Nepal, taking its seriousness into account,” said Anurag Srivastava, MEA spokesperson.

Srivastava also said New Delhi is open to engaging with all its neighbours “on the basis of mutual sensitivity and mutual respect, in an environment of trust and confidence. This is a continuous process and requires constructive and positive efforts”.

He said in recent years, relations between India and Nepal have been on “an upward trajectory which is evident from expanding and diversified bilateral cooperation and increased Government of India’s assistance for development and connectivity projects”. 

He added such measures have resulted in timely implementation of several large-scale and critical projects.

“Even in these challenging times of Covid-19 pandemic, India has ensured unimpeded trade and supply of essentials including medicines to Nepal, besides providing assistance in terms of medical supplies and other facilitation,” he said.

Border ties festering

Last week, the Oli government officially unveiled a new political map showing Kalapani, Limpiyadhura and Lipulekh — which India considers certain portions of the areas as its own territories — within its borders.

Subsequently, last Friday, Nepal moved a constitutional amendment bill to revise the map in their national emblem.

New Delhi and Kathmandu’s relationship has been stressed since November last year, when India released a revised map to account for Jammu & Kashmir’s bifurcation into the union territories of J&K and Ladakh. The map showed Kalapani, a disputed territory, as a part of India, and Nepal immediately objected.

Kathmandu subsequently called for settling the boundary issues and the disputed regions of Kalapani and Susta, and has been urging India ever since to settle the matter.


Also read: Nepal map row: Has India provoked Kathmandu or is China instigating trouble for New Delhi?


 

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