Former PM, FMs advise PM Oli to hold talks with Modi over Kalapani

Published On: November 9, 2019 09:49 PM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Nov 9: Former Prime Ministers and Foreign Ministers have suggested Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli to hold talks with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi to resolve existing border disputes including Kalapani.

Speaking at an all-party meeting convened by PM Oli at his official residence Baluwatar today evening, the former prime ministers and foreign ministers urged Oli to take diplomatic measures to resolve border disputes with the southern neighbor.

The meeting was the prime minister's effort to build a national political consensus against India's continued encroachment upon sovereign Nepali territories including Kalapani and Susta.  

Unveiling a new political map on November 2, the Indian government placed Nepali territory Kalapani inside Indian borders. Earlier this week, Nepal strongly opposed to the Indian move while asserting that the country would not tolerate any unilateral actions carried out by India on the Nepali territory. Even though historical facts show that Kalapani is a Nepali territory, Indian paramilitary force has been illegally stationing there since India-China war in 1962.

During today's meeting, Former Prime Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai suggested the prime minister to hold talks with Indian Prime Minister Modi to resolve Kalapani dispute. He also suggested setting up a political commission under PM Oli to hold negotiations with Indian government. "All political parties need to build a national consensus over Kalapani dispute," he said.

On the occasion, former foreign Minister Kamal Thapa said that all sides should come to together the Indian border encroachment. He said that Indian paramilitary forces should immediately go back from the sovereign Nepali territory in Kaplapani. "Kalapani, Lipulek and Limpiyadhura are Nepali territories," he said.

Another former foreign minister Prakash Chandra Lohani suggested the government to take diplomatic initiatives to safeguard country's territorial integrity based on historical facts and evidences.

The ruling Nepal Communist Party chairperson and former Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, former Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal, President of main opposition Nepali Congress Sher Bahadur Deuba, coordinator of presidium of Rastriya Janata Party Mahanta Thakur, chairperson of the then Council of Ministers Khil Raj Regmi, former Prime Minister Lokendra Bahadur Chand and former Ministers for Foreign Affairs Ramesh Nath Pandey and Kamal Thapa attended the meeting. Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Ishwor Pokharel and NCP leader Bhim Bahadur Rawal were also present on the occasion.

At the outset, Minister for Foreign Affairs Pradeep Kumar Gyawali said that Indian move has hurt the Nepali people's sentiments.

Earlier on November 6, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) in a statement said that outstanding boundary issues should be resolved in consensus, after the Survey General of India released its new political map on October 31 to reflect changes in the status of Jammu and Kashmir following the abrogation of Article 370 of the Indian constitution.

Nepal and India during the third meeting of their Joint Commission held in 2014 had agreed to direct the Foreign Secretaries to work on the outstanding boundary issues, including Kalapani and Susta, with technical inputs from the Boundary Working Group. The Nepali side has been repeatedly expressing its desire to resolve all outstanding boundary issues including Kalapani, Lipulekh and Susta.

The official statement from MoFA came few days after the new Indian political map caused a public outcry, with student bodies taking to the street and senior political leaders urging the government to take diplomatic initiatives to resolve matters. “Nepal government is clear that remaining outstanding boundary issues should be resolved through mutual consensus and any unilateral decision won’t be acceptable,” a MoFA statement stated.

Although the controversy over inclusion of Kalapani as Indian territory has surfaced again this week, Indian political maps have continued to put these territories in its side of the border almost since the 1960s.

With people taking exception to the new Indian political map and increasingly questioning the government’s resolve to safeguard Nepal’s territory, the MoFA statement further said that the government is committed to safeguarding its international border and is firm in its belief that the border issues between the two countries should be resolved through diplomatic channels on the basis of historical documents and evidence.

It may be recalled that Nepal had objected to an agreement reached between India and China during the visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to China in 2015 to boost trade through the Lipu Lekh Pass without Nepal’s involvement. Nepal maintained that it was against international norms and values to make such an agreement when Nepal and India are yet to resolve outstanding boundary issues.

Indian's new political map violates Nepal's sovereignity : border expert

Meanwhile, veteran border expert Buddhi Narayan Shrestha told Republica Online that recently-published map by India placing Kalapani inside Indian border is totally false and misleading, on the basis of historic maps (1 February 1827 and 24 April 1856, published by British Survey of India), prepared on the spirit of Sugauli Treaty.

"Everybody should protest to this misleading map. According to the historical maps of 1827 and 1856 and some other maps published by the British Survey of India; not only Lipulek, but also Kalapani and Limpiyadhura belong to Nepal. These maps depict the river Kali, in accordance with the Article 5 of Sugauli Treaty-1816. The recent map published by India is nothing than to swallow encroached Nepali territory of this area. We have to be very careful and hate this type of fabricated maps," he said.

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