KATHMANDU, May 18: The Government of Nepal Monday endorsed a new political map of Nepal that incorporates the disputed areas of Kalapani, Lipulekh and Limpiyadhura.
A meeting of the Council of Ministers today endorsed the updated political map prepared by the Ministry of Land Reforms, Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation. Minister Padma Aryal tabled the updated political map in the meeting and was subsequently endorsed.
These territories in the north-western part of the country have long been a headache for Nepal which both sides claim to be their own.
Nepal’s landmark decision came a week after India opened a 79-kilometer link road to Manasarovar which passes through Nepali territory of Lipulekh despite several efforts for fixing a date for Foreign Secretariat level talks–which Nepal Government slammed as “a unilateral move” and even asked India to “refrain from carrying out any activity inside the territory of Nepal.”
The Indian government had decided to construct the link road in 2005. But it officially started in 2008 and the project was expedited in 2014.
Three days later, the Foreign Affairs Minister Pradeep Gyawali had handed a diplomatic note to Indian Ambassador Vinay Mohan Kwatra conveying Nepal’s position on boundary issues.
The furore over Indian border encroachment had already reached a height in November last year when India unveiled its new political map including these territories inside its border—raising calls a new Nepal map.
Nepal has consistently maintained that the territories east of Mahakali river including Limpiyadhura, Kalapani and Lipu Lekh belong to Nepal as per the 1816 Sugauli Treaty.
Nepal had also expressed disagreement toward the understanding reached between India and China to include Lipu Lekh, which lies inside the Nepali border, as a bilateral route without Nepal’s consent during the Indian Prime Minister’s visit to China on May 15, 2015.
“The new map incorporates the northern, eastern, western and southern international borders, along with political and administrative arrangements,” said government spokesperson and Minister for Communications and Information Technology Dr. Yubaraj Khatiwada while making the decision public.
“The updated map includes Limpiyadhura, Lipulek and Kalapani in the west-north part of the country. The map also includes the state and local level as per the new federal structure. This will now be the basis for the development of the official seal, and used in government works, school textbooks and in public use,” he added.
The government’s policy and programe tabled by the President at the federal parliament on Friday included the issue of bringing a new map of the country.
The new map will likely be made public on Tuesday.