Nepal signs off new map including territory claimed by India, deepens row
India, which controls the region – a slice of land including the Limpiyadhura, Lipulkeh and Kalapani areas to the west of Nepal – has rejected the map, saying it was not based on historical facts or evidence.In this picture taken on June 13, 2020, protesters hold a banner with a new map during a demonstration against the government's handling of the fight against the coronavirus, in Kathmandu. (AFP)
The upper house of Nepal’s parliament approved a new map of the country on Thursday including land controlled by India, in a row that has strained ties between the South Asian neighbours.
India, which controls the region – a slice of land including the Limpiyadhura, Lipulkeh and Kalapani areas to the west of Nepal – has rejected the map, saying it was not based on historical facts or evidence.
Members in the 59-seat National Assembly, or upper house, voted 57-0 in favour of a constitutional amendment bill seeking to replace the old map, chairman of the house Ganesh Prasad Timilsina said.
The bill was passed by the lower house over the weekend.
“We have enough facts and evidence and we’ll sit (with India) to resolve the dispute through diplomatic negotiations,” law minister Shiva Maya Tumbahamphe told parliament.
The new map requires President Bidhya Devi Bhandari's approval.
READ MORE:Nepal parliament endorses new map as border friction with India grows
Border shaped by river
The row over the map began last month after India inaugurated an 80 km road from the northern state of Uttarakhand to Lipulekh on the border with the Tibet region of China, about 19 km of which passes through the area Nepal says belongs to it.Students with torches protest against the alleged encroachment of Nepal border by India in far west of Nepal, during the 49th day of a lockdown imposed by the government amid concerns about the spread of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), in Kathmandu, Nepal May 11, 2020. (Reuters)
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The road cuts the travel time and distance from India to Tibet's Mansarovar lake, considered holy by Hindus.
Nepal fiercely contested the inauguration of the road, seeing it as an incursion and a stark example of bullying by its much larger neighbour.
Nepal's Upper House approves Constitutional Amendment on the new map - The border dispute with India is going to be a long long one!— Ashok Swain (@ashoswai) June 18, 2020
Nepal says the land belongs to it as a river in the region formed its western border with India under an 1816 treaty with the British East India Company.
Nepal, which was never a part of British India, and New Delhi differ over where the river originates.
The disputed land, about 372 square km in area, is strategically located at the tri-junction between Nepal, India and the Tibet region of China.
India has kept a security presence in the area since a border war with China in 1962.
READ MORE: For Nepal, China-India standoff is a Pandora’s Box