KATHMANDU, June 8: Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar defended the mural depicting the concept of 'Akhand Bharat' in the new Parliament building, asserting its significance. The recently constructed Parliament building features a mural showcasing the ancient map of India, depicting an undivided India (Akhand Bharat) that encompasses present-day Nepal, Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Bangladesh, and India.
Responding to queries from journalists on Thursday, Jaishankar addressed the controversy surrounding the Akhand Bharat map. He emphasized that the mural symbolizes the extent of the Ashoka Empire's influence and represents the ideals of responsible and people-oriented governance. Jaishankar expressed confidence that neighboring countries would comprehend the intended meaning of the mural.
Former Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai had previously voiced concerns over the controversial nature of the Akhand Bharat mural in the new Parliament building. Bhattarai described it as unnecessary and detrimental to diplomatic relations between neighboring countries, including Nepal.
During his recent visit to India, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal clarified in Parliament that the Indian side had characterized the mural as a cultural map, not a political one. Opposition lawmakers criticized Dahal for not addressing the issue of the 'Akhanda Bharat' map, which they claimed encroached upon Nepal's territory. Dahal, however, stated that further examination of the matter should be conducted.