Image Source: The Himalayan Times

Gangtok, June 15: The Lower House of Nepal’s Parliament passed an amendment on June 13, voting unanimously for their country’s updated map which includes India’s Uttarakhand’s’ areas – Limpiyadhura, Lipulekh and Kalapani, the land lying east of the Mahakali river.

258 votes were cast in favour of this constitutional amendment and this bill will now move to the Upper House/Rashtriya Sabha. Although there hasn’t been a date set aside for this, Nepal’s President Bidhya Devi Bhandari will have to approve it before it becomes permanent. This move comes after a decades-long dispute over the land between the two countries.

Pushpa Kumar Dahal or Prachanda, the former Prime Minister of Nepal has said, “We want to resolve the issue with India through peaceful talks at the political and diplomatic level.”

Anurag Srivastava, the spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs, stated, “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.” which was India’s response to the ratification. 

India and Nepal have been disputing over Uttarakhand’s area for a few months now. In May, Nepal had published a revised version of their map after India inaugurated an 80km stretch of link road connecting Uttarakhand with Lipulekh on the border with Tibet, to help pilgrims who travel to Kailash Mansarover in Tibet, that passes through the land which Nepal claims as theirs.

The map shows a sliver of land on the Northwestern tip of Nepal as the Nepali territory. This had caused much tension between the two countries, with India cancelling the license for the export of palm oil from Nepal and Nepal making it mandatory for all Indian citizens working in Nepal to now have a work permit as well as ordering all labour offices to report how many Indian citizens were working in Nepal.

On Monday, India’s Union Defence Minister, Rajnath Singh on the ratification of Nepal’s new map has said that India would sort out any misunderstandings while also stressing that road mentioned above between Uttarakhand and Lipulekh very much falls under India’s territory. “Our relations are not only historical and cultural, but also spiritual, and India can never forget it. How can relations between India and Nepal break?” asked Singh.

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