“Unjustified cartographic assertion”: India responds to new Nepal map

Border tussle between India and Nepal has intensified after the Himalayan nation released its newly revised political map which shows the disputed areas of Lipulekh and Kalapani under its territory. Responding strongly against the latest development, India said that the “unilateral act” of the neighbouring country “is not based on historical facts and evidence”.

India’s External Affairs Ministry spokesman Anurag Srivastava on Wednesday released a statement in the matter saying that Nepal’s “artificial enlargement of territorial claims will not be accepted by India”.

“It is contrary to the bilateral understanding to resolve the outstanding boundary issues through diplomatic dialogue,” the statement read.

Furthermore, the External Ministry urged the Nepal government to refrain from “unjustified” cartographic assertion and “respect India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity”.

On Wednesday, Nepal’s minister for land management, cooperatives, and poverty alleviation, Padma Kumari Aryal, released the new political map approved by the Nepali cabinet under PM KP Sharma Oli. The map shows areas of Limpiyadhura, Kalapani, and Lipulekh within the northwestern corner of its borders – areas which India has been claiming within its territory. These three areas form a region of more than 300sq km (115sq miles). As per media reports, Nepal Prime Minister Oli had proclaimed that the Kalapani-Limpiadhura-Lipulekh area in the will be brought back within Nepal’s map at any cost.

The border dispute escalated after Defence Minister Rajnath Singh recently inaugurated an 80km (50-mile) road linking the state of Uttarakhand with Lipulekh on its border, shortening the route to Kailash Mansarovar pilgrimage. The Nepal government had expressed disagreement and raised objections over the construction of the link road connecting to the Lipulekh Pass.

Furthermore, these development have come almost six months after India released its political map showing the disputed region of Kalapani within its borders. In November 2019, the Home Ministry released the new map to show the bifurcated union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh in the light of the scrapping of Article 370. This map also showed Kalapani in India’s territory. In response to the map, Nepal’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs had released a statement objecting to the inclusion of Kalapani andLipulekh in the Indian territory.

“The Nepal government is very clear that Kalapani is a Nepali territory and any unilateral move to alter the border demarcation is not acceptable,” the statement by Nepali MEA had read. Nepal has been claiming that with the release of its new map, India had violated that 1816 Sugauli Treaty – signed between British India and Nepal on March 4, 1816.

Meanwhile, Nepali officials have maintained that the new map will be used for all administrative purposes and will be printed in all official documents and school and college textbooks.

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