Nepal awaits Indian response to resolve Kalapani

Published On: December 5, 2019 07:20 AM NPT By: Republica

KATHMANDU, Dec 5: An early meeting of Foreign Secretary-led mechanism proposed by the Nepali side to resolve the issues involving Kalapani and other territories has become uncertain as the Indian side has yet to respond to the request.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Pradeep Gyawali said they are awaiting India’s positive response to convene the meeting to resolve the issue diplomatically. “We have sent a request to this effect through diplomatic channel proposing possible dates as well. We are currently awaiting Indian response to our request,” Minister Gyawali told Republica.

Nepal earlier requested India through diplomatic channels for convening the meeting of the foreign secretary-led mechanism in view of mounting public pressure after the newly-released political map of India included Kalapani and other territories belonging to Nepal as per Sugauli Treaty, which defines boundary between Nepal and India.

Ambassador of Nepal to India Nilamber Acharya during his meeting with Indian Foreign Secretary Vijaya Gokhale on November 5 had requested the Indian side to activate the Foreign Secretary-level mechanism that the two countries agreed to form during the Joint Commission meeting held in 2014 to resolve the issues involving Kalapani and other territories.

Separately, Nepal in its diplomatic note sent to the Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on November 21 also sought to open diplomatic channel to resolve the issue, while expressing its concerns over the inclusion of Nepali territories in the Indian political map. 

India has not responded to the diplomatic note yet.

Although the Indian side has taken some time to respond to Nepal’s request, officials at Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) said there is no need to read too much into the delay. “It takes time for preparations to start fresh negotiations. We are looking forward to hearing soon from the Indian side on our request,” said an official, asking not to be named. 

Nepal has maintained that the territory that lies to the east of the Kali River belongs to Nepal as per Article 5 of the Sugauli Treaty reached between Nepal and the then East India Company in 1816. Former government officials and historians argue that India occupied Kalapani and other territories after the 1960s in the aftermath of the Indo-China war.

Historians maintain that India had a total 18 military check posts at various border points along Nepal’s northern border until the late 1960s. But as Nepal requested the Indian side to withdraw those check posts, all but one that was in the Kalapani area was not withdrawn.

Government officials serving during the Panchayat era said they had conducted census beyond Kalapani including in Limpiyadhura and the locals there used to pay taxes to the Nepal government for long.

Last month, during a secretariat meeting of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP), Prime Minister KP Oli had said that the government would hold negotiations with the Indian government after preparing a formal proposal incorporating all the historical evidences and relevant treaties that support Nepal’s claim to Indian-encroached territories.