Govt to form study team to gather historical evidences to support its claim over Kalapani

Published On: November 19, 2019 06:45 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Nov 19: Amid calls from various quarters that the issues surrounding Kalapani and other territories should be resolved through high-level diplomatic negotiations between India and Nepal, the government has started necessary homework to gather historical evidences that support its claim that Kalapani and other territories encroached by India originally belonged to Nepal.

A preliminary discussion regarding this issue was held during the cabinet meeting held at the prime minister's official residence in Baluwatar on Friday, according to cabinet sources. However, the issue was put off for new cabinet meeting as this demanded further discussion.

“We have held discussions about forming a study committee. It will be like a taskforce comprising of experts in the field. Historically, Kalapani and other territories belonged to Nepal. The committee shall be entrusted with the responsibility to collect all available evidences to prove that these territories belonged to us,” said the minister, asking not to be named.

The names of those to be included in the high level study committee are also yet to be finalized. The next cabinet meeting is expected to finalize both mandates and experts to be included in the panel.

The preparation of the government to form a study team comes amid mounting pressure from various quarters to start fresh negotiations with India through diplomatic channels to resolve the issue once and for all. Various student unions affiliated to major political parties and civil society bodies have been taking to the streets on routine basis demanding that the government initiate process to retrieve the land captured by India after India released its new political map that included Kalapani, Lipu Lekh and Limpiyadhura on its side of the border.

Earlier on Monday, Parliamentary State Affairs Committee directed the government to initiate fresh diplomatic initiative to resolve the issue of Kalapani and other territories. The committee had also directed the government to issue fresh political map of Nepal that includes Kalapani, Lipu Lekh and Limpiyadhura.

Lawmakers in the committee urged the government to take a firm stance against India to reclaim the Nepali territories and internationalize the issue if needed. “The committee suggested to the government to internationalize the issue if it is not resolved through diplomatic efforts between the two countries,” reads the directive of the committee.

Surrounded by India on the eastern, southern and western sides, Nepal shares open border with the neighboring country. Official records show that Nepal has border dispute with India at 71 places in 23 different districts. The proposed study team is likely to get mandate for updating the status of Nepal's all border differences with India and recommend measures to resolve them.

Earlier, Prime Minister K P Oli had organized an all-party meeting to seek views about resolving the issues of Kalapani and other territories. Leaders across political parties had stood unanimous that the government should seek diplomatic recourse.

There already is a Boundary Working Group of Nepal and India to resolve the outstanding border issues. During the Joint Commission (JC) meeting held in 2014, the two countries had agreed to settle the outstanding border issues including Kalapani through foreign secretary-level mechanisms with technical inputs from the Department of Survey.

Amid mounting protests across the country against the new Indian political map, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) has requested the Indian side to schedule a foreign secretary level meeting as agreed during the JC meeting held in 2014 to settle the issues once and for all. The Nepali side has already requested Indian side to schedule foreign secretary level meeting at the earliest possible date to discuss the matters.

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