KATHMANDU, Jan 1: Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli held a telephonic conversation with Indian counterpart Narendra Modi today morning.
Oli invited Modi to visit Nepal during the conversation, according to PM Oli. "This morning, I had telephone conversation with Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modiji. We exchanged new year's greetings and best wishes. We shared that the year 2019 proved to be successful in elevating bilateral ties to new height," Oli tweeted.
During the conversation, Oli expressed confidence that the year 2020 will be equally successful in taking Nepal-India relations to the next level by resolving pending issues.
"I renewed my cordial invitation to Modiji for a visit to Nepal," Oli added.
Oli takes up Kalapani issue with Modi
This is the first conversation between Oli and Modi after India released a new political map placing Nepali territory Kalapani inside Indian borders.
Even though Nepal is pressing for talks over the Kalapani issue at the earliest, India has not agreed on specific dates, according to officials.
Nepal earlier requested India through diplomatic channels for convening the meeting of the foreign secretary-led mechanism in view of mounting public pressure after the newly-released political map of India included Kalapani and other territories belonging to Nepal as per Sugauli Treaty, which defines boundary between Nepal and India.
Ambassador of Nepal to India Nilamber Acharya during his meeting with Indian Foreign Secretary Vijaya Gokhale on November 5 had requested the Indian side to activate the Foreign Secretary-level mechanism that the two countries agreed to form during the Joint Commission meeting held in 2014 to resolve the issues involving Kalapani and other territories.
Separately, Nepal in its diplomatic note sent to the Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on November 21 also sought to open diplomatic channel to resolve the issue, while expressing its concerns over the inclusion of Nepali territories in the Indian political map.
India has responded to the diplomatic note last week.
Nepal has maintained that the territory that lies to the east of the Kali River belongs to Nepal as per Article 5 of the Sugauli Treaty reached between Nepal and the then East India Company in 1816. Former government officials and historians argue that India occupied Kalapani and other territories after the 1960s in the aftermath of the Indo-China war.
Historians maintain that India had a total of 18 military check posts at various border points along Nepal’s northern border until the late 1960s. But as Nepal requested the Indian side to withdraw those check posts, all but one that was in the Kalapani area was not withdrawn.
Government officials serving during the Panchayat era said they had conducted census beyond Kalapani including in Limpiyadhura and the locals there used to pay taxes to the Nepal government for long.
Last month, during a secretariat meeting of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP), Prime Minister KP Oli had said that the government would hold negotiations with the Indian government after preparing a formal proposal incorporating all the historical evidence and relevant treaties that support Nepal’s claim to Indian-encroached territories.