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New map stokes up old row

New map stokes up old row

A day after the Pushpa Kamal Dahal government blasted the then government under CPN-UML Chair KP Sharma Oli for not duly communicating with the international community about Nepal’s new map comprising the Lipulek, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura areas, the main opposition CPN-UML had the government in its crosshairs.

Addressing the Lower House, Raghuji Panta, a UML lawmaker, said, “The Parliament approved the new map of Nepal unanimously. But China’s recently-issued map does not show Nepal’s pointed map (including the territories of Lipulek, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura) in its neighborhood. It shows the old map.” “The Foreign Minister has flayed the previous government for ‘not communicating with the world’ about the new map,” he said. Panta went on, “With how many countries has this government communicated regarding Nepal’s new map? I demand an answer, pronto.”

Dil Kumari Rawal, another UML lawmaker, joined forces with Panta and accused both China and India of seeking to undermine Nepal’s status as a fully sovereign country.

Speaking at the National Assembly, Rawal blamed the two neighbors for disregarding Nepal’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.    

She was referring to India’s act of including Lipulek, Limpiyadhura and Kalapani in its new political map issued in 2019 and China’s recent act of including the old map of Nepal shorn of the 400-sq km that it has been claiming as her own by presenting historic records like land ownership certificates issued to local people and the receipt of land tax from them.

Rawal expressed doubts that the omission may have occurred due to weak diplomatic steps on the part of governments vis-a-vis the new map. She urged the government to attend to this serious matter. 

It may be noted that India and China signed a 40-point pact in 2015, which, among other things, envisages using Lipulek for bilateral trade, by sidelining Nepal. The then government had objected to the move, to little avail. 

Successive governments have pledged to resolve the dispute with India through diplomatic means, yet they have done precious little toward dispute resolution with the thorny issue not even figuring in bilateral talks.