The diplomatic relations between Nepal and India have come under considerable strain recently. Addressing the Kalapani territory dispute between Nepal and India, Prime Minister of Nepal KP Sharma Oli gave a statement saying it will retrieve the territory surrounding Kapalni river through dialogue, from the Indian Government.
The Kalapani issue refers to a border dispute between Nepal and India since decades. Kalapani territory refers to the area which constitutes as the basin of the river Kalapani. It is a headwater of the river Kali, which forms the border between the two countries. The Indian government administers the territory and locally, the Uttarakhand state government. Nepal claims the region was under its administration and was occupied by the Indian Army through deceit. The strains exacerbated when India inaugurated the Lipulekh Pass, which serves as a link to Kailas-Manasarovar. Although Nepal has been claiming the territory since 1983, it raised objections to India’s initiative of breaching diplomatic understanding previously agreed upon.
Nepal’s parliament put forward a proposal to design a new map, recently in the spur of the inauguration of the Lipulekh Pass in the disputed territory. According to their diplomats, the region lies in Dharchula district, Sudurpashchim Pradesh. The new map included the areas of Lipulekh, Kalapni and Limpiyadhura. The unusual promptitude observed by revealing a new plan has raised a lot of questions.
The accusations directed to India have been that of occupying portions of land since the Sino-Indian war when the Indian Army was given permits to station their camps in the Nepalese territory. Nepalese government claims the Army never withdrew its camps and eventually gained control, which is a breach of diplomatic understanding.
How We See It
Since Nepal led claims on the territory, a joint committee has been steering the issue since 1998. But the efforts are to no avail. Indian diplomats have put forward assertions that the territory has been an intrinsic part of Uttarakhand, India, documents and confirmation of which date back to the 1830s. The recent Lipulekh Pass serves as a crucial development in the area and hence would help in commercialisation, claims the government. It falls under the Pithoragarh district, Uttarakhand, which was an active area to navigate through during the Sino-Indian war. The war eventually led to the closing of the Lipulekh Pass.
Indian government accords that such dire initiatives by Nepal would prove detrimental to a pragmatic approach to border disputes.