Govt should take nation, parties into confidence on Nepal border row: Cong

New Delhi, Jun 10 (PTI) Expressing serious concern over India's territorial dispute with Nepal, the Congress on Wednesday demanded the government take the nation into confidence and brief political parties on the situation.

Congress senior spokesperson Anand Sharma said recent developments in the Indo-Nepal relations and the dispute over the Kalapani-Lipulekh area, following the publication of a new map by the neighbouring country depicting the area as its territory, is a matter of 'national concern'.

India and Nepal share a historic and time-tested relationship marked by mutual respect, friendship and trust and the issue should be resolved amicably through diplomacy and talks, he said.

'The Congress Party demands that the government takes the nation into confidence, and briefs the leadership of political parties, as is expected in a Parliamentary democracy,' Sharma said in a statement.

The former union minister said India has always respected the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Nepal and the two countries have successfully settled 98 per cent of common border issues.

'There is an expressed willingness of both sides to settle all disputes in the same spirit of close friendship and mutual trust. The Congress party is of a considered view that diplomacy and negotiations must be given a chance to resolve the present issue,' he said.

The Congress leader, who is the chairman of the party's foreign affairs department and deputy leader in Rajya Sabha, said India and Nepal have an established bilateral mechanism to resolve any dispute and differences through negotiations.   'It is regrettable, that the present impasse has reached a stage, which has strained the friendly relationship. This needs to be addressed urgently,' he noted.

India and Nepal, as neighbours and natural partners, should secure and protect the precious goodwill built over the years between the two countries, the Congress leader said.

Nepal last month released a revised political and administrative map of the country laying claim over the strategically key areas of Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura.

India has reacted angrily to the move, saying such 'artificial enlargement' of territorial claims will not be acceptable and asked the neighbouring country to refrain from such 'unjustified cartographic assertion'.

Nepal's Parliament on Tuesday started discussions on a Constitution amendment bill to change the country's political map showing Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura under its territory.

The bill seeks to amend the political map of Nepal included in the schedule 3 of the Constitution. PTI SKC TIR TIR