Reacting to Nepal’s act of officially issuing a new political map on 20 May that shows Kalapani, Limpiadhura and Lipulekh as parts of their territory, India has said the “unilateral act is not based on historical facts and evidence” and that it would not accept “artificial enlargement of territorial claims”.
The Ministry of External Affairs said further that it hoped Nepal would create a positive atmosphere for dialogue to resolve the issue.
On 20 May, the government of Nepal had unveiled a new political map of the country that depicted Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura as part of Nepalese territory amid a diplomatic row with India.
The move came a little more than six months after India published new maps of the union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh that showed Kalapani as part of the state of Uttarakhand.
Nepal’s Land Management Minister Padma Kumari Aryal had released the new map at a function in Kathmandu attended by political leaders and officials. The map showed the three territories as part of the Byas rural municipality in Darchula district of Sudurpaschim province.
“It is contrary to the bilateral understanding to resolve the outstanding boundary issues through diplomatic dialogue. Such artificial enlargement of territorial claims will not be accepted by India,” an MEA spokesperson said, adding that the neighbouring country is well aware of India’s position on the issue.
“We urge the Government of Nepal to refrain from such unjustified cartographic assertion and respect India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the spokesperson added.
Nepal Prime Minister Oli had said that with the approval of the new map by the Cabinet, “We will now be relentlessly engaging to realise those areas back through diplomacy. The issue will not fade away any more, we are least bothered if anyone gets angry and we will reclaim that land at any cost.”
The Lipulekh pass is a far western point near Kalapani, a border area between Nepal and India. Both India and Nepal claim Kalapani as an integral part of their territory — India as part of Uttarakhand’s Pithoragarh district and Nepal as part of Dharchula district.
India had said that the recently-inaugurated road section in Pithoragarh district in Uttarakhand lay completely within its territory. Indian Army chief Gen MM Naravane last week said that there were reasons to believe that Nepal objected to India’s newly-inaugurated road linking Lipulekh Pass with Dharchula in Uttarakhand at the behest of “someone else”, in an apparent reference to a possible role by China on the matter.
Gen Naravane said there was no dispute whatsoever between India and Nepal in the area and road laid was very much within the Indian side.