India rejects Nepal Parliament's Lower House passing bill to redraw political map

WION Web Team
New Delhi, Delhi, India Published: Jun 13, 2020, 08:59 PM(IST)

India-Nepal border Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

The ties between India and Nepal came under strain after Defence Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated a 80-km-long strategically crucial road connecting the Lipulekh pass with Dharchula in Uttarakhand on May 8.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Saturday said it has noted Nepal Parliament's Lower House passing a constitutional amendment bill to update the country's new political map, laying claim over the strategically key areas of Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura along the border with India.

MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said that the move is violative of the current understanding to hold talks on outstanding boundary issues, adding the government has already made its position clear on the matter.

India has been maintaining that these three areas belong to it.

"We have noted that the House of Representatives of Nepal has passed a constitution amendment bill for changing the map of Nepal to include parts of Indian territory. We have already made our position clear on this matter," the spokesperson 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."

Also read | Lower House of Nepal Parliament unanimously passes bill to back new controversial map

A two-thirds majority was required in the 275-member House of Representatives or the lower house to pass the bill.

Major Opposition parties including Nepali Congress (NC), Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal (RJP-N) and Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) voted in favour of the government bill to amend Schedule 3 of the Constitution to update the national emblem by incorporating the new controversial map.

On June 9, the Parliament unanimously endorsed a proposal to consider the Constitution amendment bill to pave way for endorsing the new political map amid the border row with India.

Now, the bill will be sent to the National Assembly where it will undergo a similar process. The ruling Nepal Communist Party commands two-thirds majority in the National Assembly.
The NA will have to give lawmakers 72 hours to move amendments against the bill's provisions, if any.

After the National Assembly passes the bill, it will be submitted to the President for authentication, after which the bill will be incorporated in the Constitution.

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The government on Wednesday formed a nine-member team of experts to collect historical facts and evidence related to the area.

Diplomats and experts, however, questioned the government's move, asking why the task force was formed when the map has already been released and approved by the Cabinet.

The ties between India and Nepal came under strain after Defence Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated a 80-km-long strategically crucial road connecting the Lipulekh pass with Dharchula in Uttarakhand on May 8.

Nepal reacted sharply to the inauguration of the road claiming that it passed through Nepalese territory. India rejected the claim asserting that the road lies completely within its territory.

Nepal last month released the revised political and administrative map of the country laying claim over the strategically key areas. India has been maintaining that these three areas belonged to it.

India sternly asked Nepal not to resort to any "artificial enlargement" of territorial claims after Kathmandu released the new map.

(with inputs from agencies)

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