All-party meet on border issue shows rare unity across entire spectrum
November 10, 2019 07:38 AM NPT
KATHMANDU, Nov 10: Top political leaders including former prime ministers and noted boundary experts have suggested to Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli to reclaim Nepali territory encroached by India in Darchula district.
They added that the government should immediately raise the border issue with India's Narendra Modi government along with all historical artifacts and evidence that substantiate Nepal's claim to Kalapani including the Lipu-lekh pass, a tri-junction between Nepal, India and China.
If India refuses to return the land, some of the leaders and stakeholders also suggested the government take the issue to an international forum.
“Statements alone aren't enough; the government should take back the encroached land and show initiative to remove the Indian army from Kalapani. It should raise the matter with the Indian side,” Rastriya Prajatantra Party Nepal Chairman Kamal Thapa told reporters after the meeting held at Baluwatar.
Former prime minister and Samajwadi Party Nepal leader Baburam Bhattarai said that the issue should be resolved through talks at the prime ministerial level, adding that committees of bureaucrats had failed to bear fruit.
“There should be talks between the two prime ministers. A political commission should be formed,” Bhattarai told media after the meeting.
Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba and others said that they would support the government for the resolution of the border crisis.
Former chairman of the 2013 interim government Khil Raj Regmi urged a just solution to the border issue.
Rastriya Janata Party Nepal has also asked the government to resolve the matter through negotiations instead of just resorting to rhetoric.
Earlier, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli urged the parties to set aside partisan politics , saying that unity among major parties and other stakeholders was a must before raising the border issue with New Delhi.
Saturday's meeting saw rare unanimity of voice from all parties across the political spectrum.
A wave of anger has swept the country after the Indian Survey General last week released a new political map showing some Nepali territories as part of India. Students and the youth wings of various political parties have been protesting both in social media and in the street.
India, meanwhile, has defended its map, describing it as a continuation of the status quo.
“Our new map covers the sovereign land of India. The new map has not changed our border with Nepal. We want to reiterate our commitment to resolve the problem through dialogue in the spirit of bilateral friendly relations,” said Ravish Kumar, a spokesman of India's External Affairs Ministry , on Tuesday. He urged everyone to be wary of elements trying to create differences between the two countries. Kumar was responding to a press statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that asserted Nepal's claim over Kalapani. The area is an integral part of Nepal, the statement said.
Despite an agreement to end border issues through the Eminent Persons Group on Nepal-India Relations (EPG-NIR), a joint panel formed to review the Treaty of Peace and Friendship of 1950, there has been little progress due to apathy on the part of the Modi government in owning up its report.