Nepalese Parliament ignores India's objections, passes bill to redraw political map
On Saturday, Nepal's Lower House passed a key constitutional amendment bill to revise the country's political map, laying claim over the strategically key areas of Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura along the border. India had earlier sternly asked Nepal not to resort to any "artificial enlargement" of territorial claims after Kathmandu released the new map.
The Nepalese Parliament, in a special session, unanimously passed an amendment to the Constitution to update the country's new political map, laying claim over the strategically key areas of Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura along the border with India.
Major Opposition parties including Nepali Congress (NC), Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal (RJP-N) and Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) voted in favour of the government bill to amend Schedule 3 of the Constitution to update the national emblem by incorporating the new controversial map.
On Saturday, Nepal's Lower House opened the discussion on the amendment bill and it was passed after four hours of deliberations.
The passage of the amendment bill has likely put an end to the possibility of talks between India and Nepal over the boundary dispute. India has been maintaining that the three areas in contention belonged to it.
However, the Indian government is yet to respond to the passage of the amendment bill in Nepal.
Meanwhile, even the Opposition parties of Nepal such as Nepali Congress and Janata Samajwadi Party-Nepal were expected to support the government’s bill to amend Schedule 3 of the constitution aimed to update the national emblem by incorporating the new map.
After passage from the National Assembly, the bill will be sent to the President of Nepal for assent.
On June 9, the Parliament had unanimously endorsed a proposal to consider the bill to pave way for endorsing the new map. According to the news agency PTI, on Wednesday, the Nepalese government had formed a nine-member team of experts to collect historical facts and evidence related to the area.
The ties between India and Nepal came under strain after Defence Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated an 80-km-long strategically crucial road connecting the Lipulekh pass with Dharchula in Uttarakhand on May 8.
Nepal reacted sharply to the inauguration of the road, claiming that it passed through Nepalese territory. India rejected the claim, asserting that the road lies completely within its territory.
Last month, Nepal released the revised political and administrative map of the country, laying claim over the strategically key areas. India has been maintaining that these three areas are an integral part of India.
India sternly asked Nepal not to resort to any "artificial enlargement" of territorial claims after Kathmandu released the new map.
Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli, earlier this month, had said that his government will seek a solution to the Kalapani issue through diplomatic efforts and dialogue based on historical facts and documents.
However, the passage of the amendment bill virtually puts an end to the possibility of talks between the two nations to end the boundary dispute.