Nepal's Parliament clears bill for new map including Indian territories
The lower house of Nepal's Parliament on Saturday passed an amendment to update the political map of the country. The controversial move includes an additional 370 square kilometers of territory, currently included in the Indian map. The territories claimed by Nepal include Kalapani, Limpiyadhura, and Lipulekh. The development comes amid rising tensions between the two nations over the border dispute.
Nepal's House of Representatives unanimously voted to amend Constitution
The 275-member House of Representatives unanimously voted to amend Schedule 3 of Nepal's Constitution to update the national emblem by incorporating the new map. Major Opposition parties such as the Nepali Congress (NC), Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal (RJP-N), and Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) also voted in favor of the bill. A two-thirds majority was required to pass the bill in the lower house.
What happens to the bill now?
The bill will now be sent to the National Assembly for approval. In the National Assembly, the ruling Nepal Communist Party enjoys a two-thirds majority. The Assembly will have to give lawmakers 72 hours to move amendments against the bill's provisions. If passed, the bill will be submitted to the President for authentication. With the President's approval, it will be incorporated in the Constitution.
Not tenable, says India's Foreign Ministry
Reacting to the development, India's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said, "This artificial enlargement of claims is not based on historical fact or evidence and is not tenable. It is also violative of our current understanding to hold talks on outstanding boundary issues."
India warned Nepal last month after latter released new map
The Nepal government had introduced the bill in the Parliament last month. It had also released the revised political and administrative map of the country, laying claim over the territories of Limpiyadhura, Lipulekh, and Kalapani. At the time, India had opposed Nepal's "unilateral" move. India had warned its neighbor against any "artificial enlargement" and requested it to "respect India's sovereignty and territorial integrity."
Will get back land occupied by India: Nepal PM
On Tuesday, the Nepal Parliament had unanimously endorsed a proposal to consider the Constitution amendment bill. On Thursday, Nepal's Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli said that his government will "get back the land occupied by India" through dialogue. He said, "India built a Kali temple, created an artificial Kali river, and encroached the Nepalese territory through deploying the Army at Kalapani."
Nepal raised border issue after India inaugurated new road
The India-Nepal border issue had escalated after India inaugurated the 80-km road, connecting the Lipulekh pass with Dharchula in Uttarakhand last month. Nepal had then said that India's "unilateral" act constituted a breach of an agreement between the two nations.