A disputed range bordering Nepal and India is about to put the two Hindu-majority nations on a collison course jeopardising the centuries- old friendship that exists between them.
Nepal claims Lipulekh, Limpiyadhura and Kalapani areas are integral parts of its sovereign territory – per Sugauli Treaty of 1816.
India too claims the region is part of its “sovereign territory”, again, per the Sugauli Treaty betwn the East India Company and the “Rajah of Nepal”.
Key statements so far:
Prime Minister KP Oli: (i) Kalapani is Nepalese territory. (ii) Nepal will not allow anyone have even “an inch” of its territory. (iii) Nepal would ask India to remove its armed forces from the region.
Raveesh Kumar, India’s Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson, in response to Nepalese foreign ministry claiming ownership of the Kalapani region: (i) India’s map accurately depicts “the sovereign territory of India” and hence, Kalapani was Indian land. (ii) India did not revise its border with Nepal in its recent map.
Trivendra Singh Rawat, the chief minister of the Indian state of Uttarakhand which borders the disputed territory : (i) Kalapani is an integral part of India and it would continue to remain so. (ii) The statement that Kalapan was an integral part of Nepal was an “unfortunate statement” on the part of Nepal.
Conflicting statements coupled with Nepal’s hard stance portend another episode of frozen relationship between the two neighbours. Should that unfortunate situation arise, Nepal is most likely to be at the receiving end because it is a landlocked country mainly depending on India and its sea ports.
Quoting historian Shekhar Pathak, the New Indian Express said today that the Kalapani region was “deemed part of India” per Sugauli Treaty.
“The Nepalese Left has been insisting that the area be vacated by India, but this is the first ever official support from the government,” the New Indian Express said.
Another Indian news website accused the ruling Communist Party of Nepal of stirring the Kalapani imbroglio, “Since 2009, the Communist Party of Nepal, gave rise to the Kalapani controversy.”
Nepalese communists may well have started the debate but the main opposition party of the tiny South Asian nation, the Nepali Congress, has already extended its full support to Prime Minister KP Oli’s stance on the matter.