KATHMANDU, May 19: Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian Tuesday clarified that the issue of Kalapani is between Nepal and India.
Zhao’s remarks came in response to Nepal’s hopes of trilateral talks regarding the opening of a link road by India connecting Mansarovar through Nepali territory Lipulekh and Indian Army Chief General Naravane’s comment there may be external forces involved in the territorial disputes.
India’s move of opening the link road via Nepali territory, six months after it published a new political map including Nepal’s north-western territories Kapalani, Limpiyadhura and Lipulekh inside its border, prompted Nepal to publish its new updated Nepal map on Monday that incorporates the encroached lands.
Nepal called India’s move “unilateral” also asked the Indian government to refrain from carrying out any activity inside the territory of Nepal”, while also accusing India of ignoring calls for a date to hold diplomatic talks to resolve the border disputes. In response, India claimed the link road lies in Indian territory.
And since India and China on May 15, 2015 had reached an understanding to include Lipulekh as a bilateral route with Nepal’s consent during the Indian Prime Minister’s visit to China—to which Nepal had officially disagreed, the ruling Nepal Communist Party Executive Chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ described the dispute as a “trilateral issue which be resolved through trilateral talks”.
A week later, Indian army chief Naravane said Lipulekh Pass is not a dispute and Nepal has raised the matter at the behest of someone else.
“The issue of Kalapani is between Nepal and India. We hope the two countries will resolve their differences properly through friendly consultations and refrain from taking any unilateral action that may complicate the situation,” said Zhao during a regular press briefing.
Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli today said the government is determined to take back the encroached territories. He has also informed the parliamentarians that Nepal has put the issues to the Chinese authorities who, according to Oli, has assured Nepal that India-China bilateral agreement on Lipulekh will not affect the position of the border.
India has also maintained that the link road “follows the pre-existing route used by the pilgrims and the same road has been made pliable for the ease and convenience of pilgrims, locals and traders.”
The Lipulekh pass has been used by traders and pilgrims to transit between India and Tibet to Kailas and Mansarovar since ancient times.