Kalapani dispute: Nepal PM says would not allow anyone to encroach 'even an inch'

Shirish B Pradhan

Kathmandu, Nov 18 (PTI) Nepal Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli has said that he would ask India to withdraw its forces from the Kalapani area and asserted that its 'patriotic government' will not allow anyone to encroach on 'even an inch' of its territory.

India earlier this month released fresh maps of the newly created Union Territories (UTs) of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh and the map of India depicting these UTs.

In the maps, Pakistan-occupied Kashmir is part of the newly created Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, while Gilgit-Baltistan is in the Union Territory of Ladakh.

On November 6, the Nepal government said the media reports drew its attention to the Kalapani area being included in the new Indian map.

Prime Minister Oli said the government would take initiative to vacate Indian troops from the disputed Kalapani region.

He said the government will not allow anyone to encroach on even an inch of Nepalese territory.

“Our patriotic government will not allow anybody to encroach on even an inch of Nepal’s territory. Neighbouring country India should withdraw its security forces from the Kalapani area,” a press release issued by the PM’s private secretariat said.

However, Oli emphasised that his government wanted to resolve the Kalapani issue through diplomacy.

Oli was addressing a programme organised by the National Youth Organisation, a sister wing of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP), here on Sunday.

Oli said his government was capable of protecting the country's border and emphasised that all forces of the country were united to reclaim the encroached land of the country.

The prime minister's statement came at a time when the main opposition Nepali Congress has mobilised its sister organisation the Nepal Students Union to launch street protests in Kathmandu demanding withdrawal of Indian soldiers from the disputed border area.

Nepal's major political parties have raised objection to the newly-published map by the Indian government showing Kalapani within its territory.

Nepal has claimed that the territory belongs to it and demanded removal of the Indian security personnel from there.

Nepal's Foreign Ministry issued a statement clarifying that the Government of Nepal was clear about the fact that the Kalapani region belonged to Nepal.

The Prime Minister also refuted the claim made by the opposition that the encroachment of Kalapani was a recent incident.

Propaganda was being spread as if encroachment of the Kalapani region, which happened decades ago, was a recent incident, Oli said.

During an all party meeting called by Oli few days back, senior leaders of major parties have advised that high-level political dialogue should be initiated with India to resolve the issue through diplomatic channels. PTI SBP RS AKJ RS