India-Nepal boundary Issues

    0
    2023

    In News

    • The mutually agreed boundary issues between India and Nepal can always be addressed in the spirit of close and bilateral relations between the two countries, said the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu.

    About

    • Boundary dispute points: The Lipulekh pass is a far western point near Kalapani, a border area between Nepal and India.
      • Both India and Nepal claim Kalapani as an integral part of their territory.
      • India as part of Uttarakhand’s Pithoragarh district and Nepal as part of Dharchula district.
    • Strategically crucial road: The bilateral ties came under strain under then prime minister K P Sharma Oli after India opened an 80-km-long strategically crucial road connecting the Lipulekh pass with Dharchula in Uttarakhand in 2020.

    Current Issues

    • Reiterating that Kalapani, Lipulekh and Limpiyadhura are Nepali territories: Nepal urged India to immediately withdraw its troops stationed in the Kalapani region and amicably resolve the border row through high-level dialogue based on historical facts and evidence.
    • Construction of roads: The Nepal Government unwaveringly believes that construction of roads and other structures should be stopped.
      • It violates the clause mentioned in Nepal-India Joint Commission which mentions that any dispute between the two countries should be resolved through diplomatic mechanism.
    • New map: Nepal first protested the inauguration of the road claiming that it passed through its territory, and days later, it came out with a new map showing Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura as its territories.
      • India reacted sharply to the move.
      • Nepal’s Parliament approved the new political map of the country featuring areas which India maintains belong to it.

    India-Nepal Relations

    • Open borders: India and Nepal share a unique relationship of friendship and cooperation characterized by open borders and deep-rooted people-to-people contacts of kinship and culture.
    • Economic Cooperation: India has been a key development partner of Nepal. Following the massive earthquakes in Nepal in April and May 2015, India promptly offered to help hands.
      • About 150 Indian ventures operate in Nepal in manufacturing, services (banking, insurance, dry port, education and telecom), power sector and tourism industries.
      • Integrated check-posts have been proposed at four points on the Indo-Nepal border namely (i) Raxaul-Birganj, (completed and operationalised from April 2018) (ii) Sunauli-Bhairahawa, (iii) Jogbani-Biratnagar and (iv) Nepalganj Road-Nepalgunj. 
    • Trade and Transit: The partnership with India in the areas of trade and transit is a matter of utmost importance to Nepal. India is Nepal’s largest trading partner. India has provided a transit facility to Nepal for the third country trade. Both the public and private sectors of India have invested in Nepal.
    • Defence Cooperation:  India has assisted the Nepalese Army (NA) in its modernization through the provision of equipment and training and cooperation in areas of disaster management.
    • Multilateral and Regional Fora: Both Nepal and India have a common approach to regional and multilateral institutions and hence, work in tandem in the United Nations, Non-aligned Movement and other international fora on most of the important international issues.
      •  Furthermore, both the countries have been deeply engaged in the regional and sub-regional frameworks of SAARC, BIMSTEC and BBIN for enhancing cooperation for greater economic integration by harnessing collectively the potentials and complementarities available in the region.
    • Education: Several scholarships are provided to the Nepali nationals annually.
    • Culture: Both nations promote people-to-people contacts, organize cultural programmes, and conferences and seminars. 
      • India and Nepal have also signed three sister-city agreements for the twinning of KathmanduVaranasi, Lumbini-Bodhgaya and Janakpur-Ayodhya.

    Way Forward

    • Dialogue: The issue should be promptly resolved through dialogue and no structure should be built at the state level until resolution is reached through dialogue.
    • Established inter-governmental mechanisms and channels: are most appropriate for communication and dialogue.
    • Sugauli Treaty of 1816: The border dispute between Nepal and India must be resolved on the basis of the Sugauli Treaty of 1816.
      • According to Nepal, the Sugauli Treaty says that territories that lie west of the Mahakali River belong to Nepal.
    • In accordance with Gujral Doctrine: India must keep on strengthening such ties.

    Source: ET