India “won’t accept” new Nepal map

India-Nepal boundary issues

KATHMANDU, May 21: India Wednesday accused Nepal of “unilaterally” revising the administrative map of Nepal and “artificially claiming the Indian territories” and said it would not accept the map.

Nepal on Wednesday, toughening its stance on the decade-long claims over the territories, made public its updated political map incorporating the encroached lands of Kalapani, Lipulekh and Limpiyadhura at the north-western tip that covers an area of 335 square kilometer area. Nepal’s total area is now 147,516 sq km.

The Government of Nepal is also preparing to bring its coat of arms and logo into use as per the updated map and present a bill in the parliament seeking an amendment to the constitution’s index.

Releasing the updated map, Land Management, Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation Padma Aryal said it was a “historically pleasant” occasion for Nepal and its people.

The government had committed to releasing a new map incorporating the encroached territories in its annual policy and programs for the fiscal year 2020/21 and on May 18, endorsed the new Nepal map.

The move came a week after India opened a 79-kilometer link road connecting Mansarovar via Nepali territory Lipulekh, which including Kalapani and Limpiyadhura, Nepal has claimed as its own territory as per the Sugauli Treaty reached between Nepal and East India Company on March 4, 1816, that sets the Kali river as its western boundary with India. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Nepal described the Indian move as “unilateral act” and urged India “to refrain from carrying out any activity inside the territory of Nepal.”

“The Government of Nepal has released a revised official map of Nepal today that includes parts of Indian territory. This unilateral act is not based on historical facts and evidence,” the Indian External Affairs Ministry said in a press release quoting the Official Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava.

Ironically, India had released its new political map on November 2 last year placing these Nepali territories inside its border. The Indian move drew a public uproar across Nepal and a demand for a New Nepal and heightened the border tensions.

Nepal has been seeking a date for Foreign Secretariat level talks with India to resolve the boundary issues. But India has ignored the calls for diplomatic talks.

But, India has accused Nepal of acting unilaterally and issuing a map which is not based on historical evidence.

“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,” Srivastava added.

Nepal has consistently maintained that the territories east of Mahakali river including Limpiyadhura, Kalapani and Lipu Lekh belong to Nepal as per the Sugauli Treaty.

“Nepal is well aware of India’s consistent position on this matter and we urge the Government of Nepal to refrain from such unjustified cartographic assertion and respect India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. We hope that the Nepalese leadership will create a positive atmosphere for diplomatic dialogue to resolve the outstanding boundary issues,” Srivastava added.