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New Delhi (Sputnik): India’s Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on 8 May inaugurated the strategic Link Road from Dharchula to Lipulekh near India’s border with China, along what’s famously known as the Kailash-Mansarovar Pilgrimage Route. A day later, the Nepalese government issued a statement condemning India’s move.
Nepal’s foreign ministry on Monday summoned the Indian ambassador over a boundary issue, days after Defence Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated the Link Road from Dharchula to Lipulekh. Nepal claims that the Indian road, which stretches towards China’s Tibet region, crosses into Nepalese territory. While handing over the formal complaint, Nepal called for an early meeting of the foreign ministers of the two countries to resolve the boundary issue.
Foreign Minister Hon. @PradeepgyawaliK conveyed Government of Nepal’s position on boundary issues to Ambassador of India to Nepal H.E. Mr. Vinay Mohan Kwatra at a meeting held at MoFA today and handed over a diplomatic note in this regard.
— MOFA of Nepal 🇳🇵 (@MofaNepal) May 11, 2020
Despite raising issues on several occasions, India hasn’t held foreign secretary-level talks with its neighbour since 2014, when New Delhi promised to review the seven decades old treaty between the two countries.
A day after the Indian defence minister inaugurated the strategic road, Nepal’s foreign affairs ministry released a strongly-worded statement relaying that they’d learned about the inauguration of the link road “which passes through Nepali territory”.
Raksha Mantri Shri @rajnathsingh today inaugurated the Link Road from Dharchula to Lipulekh (China Border) famously known as Kailash-Mansarovar Yatra Route. RM congratulated BRO for achieving the connectivity. 1/4 pic.twitter.com/cIHw6UHkKE
— रक्षा मंत्री कार्यालय/ RMO India (@DefenceMinIndia) May 8, 2020
“The Government of Nepal has consistently maintained that as per the Sugauli Treat (1816), all the territories east of the Kali (Mahakali) River, including Limpiyadhura, kalapani and Lipu Lekhm belong to Nepal,” the statement from the ministry reads.
On Sunday, Nepal’s Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali said that the land-locked country will increase its number of security outposts and deploy more armed personnel to the border with India. Seeking negotiation, Nepal has condemned the “unilateral act, which runs against the understanding reached between the two countries”.
Nepal’s Home Minister Ram Bahadur Badal has emphasised the need to talk to Beijing, as India and China had signed an agreement in May 2015 to develop Lipulekh as a commercial passage without consulting Nepal.
Nevertheless, the Indian foreign ministry maintained that the inaugurated road section in Pithoragarh district in the State of Uttarakhand lies completely within the territory of India.
“India is committed to resolving the outstanding boundary issues through diplomatic dialogue and in the spirit of our close and friendly bilateral relations with Nepal,” the Indian foreign ministry said.
Last year, Nepalese Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli had vowed to remove Indian troops from their land after a new Indian map showed the region of Kalapani within India, leading to protests across Nepal. Nepal claimed that Indian border forces have illegally occupied the Nepalese territory Kalapani since the 1962 India-China War. India shares a 1,050-mile border with Nepal, 97 percent of which is clearly demarcated.