KATHMANDU, Jan 16: The Nepal government on Sunday requested the Indian government to stop unilateral road construction in Lipulek, while publicizing its official position on Nepal-India boundary disputes in the country's western frontier that has lately created an uproar in Kathmandu.
While stressing the need for resolving the dispute in the spirit of the close and friendly relations between the two countries, Minister for Communications and Information Technology Gyanendra Bahadur Karki, who is also the government's spokesperson, said that the territories that lie to the east of the Mahakali River are integral territories of Nepal.
Minister Karki said that Kalapani, Lipulek and Limpiyadhura lie to the east of the Mahakali River, which defines Nepal's western frontier with India as per the historic Sugauli Treaty. "The Nepal government is firm and clear on the fact that the territories that lie to the east of the Mahakali River are integral parts of Nepal," he said.
Minister Karki also said that the Nepal government has been requesting the Indian government to stop the unilateral construction and expansion of a road that passes through the Nepali territory. "The Nepal government has remained committed to resolving the border issues between the two countries through diplomatic means on the basis of the historical treaties, agreements, facts, maps and other evidence in the spirit of the close and friendly relations that subsist between Nepal and India," he further said.
The official position of the government on the issue of Kalapani, Lipulek and Limpiyadhura comes a day after India said that any outstanding border issues between Nepal and India can always be addressed in the spirit of close and friendly bilateral relations.
Amid an uproar in Nepal over the ongoing road construction by India in the Lipulek area, India has said that established inter-governmental mechanisms are appropriate for communication and dialogue to resolve the boundary issue.
"It is our view that the established inter-governmental mechanisms and channels are most appropriate for communication and dialogue. Mutually agreed boundary issues that are outstanding can always be addressed in the spirit of our close and friendly bilateral relations," the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu said in a press statement on Saturday.
The embassy also said that India's position on the India-Nepal boundary is well-known, consistent and unambiguous and that it has been communicated to Nepal. Although India has been maintaining that Kalapani, Lipulek and Limpiyadhura are Indian territories, Nepal has rejected India's claim saying that the Sugauli Treaty that defines Nepal's western boundary with India includes these territories in Nepal.
Nepal's parliament last year introduced a new political map including Kalapani, Lipulek and Limpiyadhura that are currently under Indian control after New Delhi continued with the construction of roads without giving any heed to the protests lodged by Nepal. The Sugauli Treaty clearly states that the territories that lie west of the Mahakali River belong to Nepal.
The Nepali side has grown further apprehensive of the intention of India as the 9th edition of India’s official map deletes the name Kali River and calls it Kuthi Yanghti instead in an apparent bid to justify New Delhi’s claim that these territories fall on the Indian side of the border. There have been calls from various quarters in Nepal that India should stop trying to establish facts on the ground, freeze its road-building up to Lipulek, and sit down for talks.
The border issue has drawn protest in Nepal after Indian Prime Minister Modi in his address to an election rally organized by his party, Bharatiya Janata Party, in the Haldwani area in Uttarakhand on December 30 announced that his government was further widening the road built in the Nepali territory of Lipulek.
All major political parties have issued statements protesting against India's continued move to construct a road in Lipulek as a serious violation of Nepal's sovereignty.
Earlier on Friday, the ruling Nepali Congress (NC) said that India's move to continue road construction in the Lipulek area despite Nepal's protest is 'objectionable'. Reiterating that Kalapani, Lipulek and Limpiyadhura are Nepali territory, the party also demanded that India immediately withdraw its troops stationed in the Kalapani region and amicably resolve the border row through high-level diplomatic negotiation based on historical facts and evidence.
The main opposition party, CPN-UML, Bibeksheel Sajha Nepali, Rastriya Prajatantra Party and the ruling coalition partner, CPN (Unified Socialist) have already condemned India's move to continue with the road construction despite Nepal's protests.