How Nepal's New Map Bill Could Impact Ties With India: Former Diplomat Explains

Akshita Jain
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Nepal Prime Minister KP Oli during a ceremonial reception in New Delhi on February 20, 2016. 

Even as India continues to have a border stand-off with China, another upset neighbour, Nepal, is moving ahead with a constitutional amendment bill to change the country’s map. 

The government of Nepal on Sunday tabled the bill to approve a new map which shows areas of Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura—some of which also features on India’s map—as part of its territory.

India has rejected the map, which was released by Nepal on 20 May. In a media briefing, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Anurag Srivastava had said that the “revision is a unilateral act and it is not based on historical facts and evidences”. “Such artificial enlargement of territorial claims will not be accepted by us,” he added. 

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Nepal has also been upset over a new road inaugurated by Union Minister Rajnath Singh on 8 May which connects Dharchula and Lipulekh, The Indian Express reported. India had rejected Kathmandu’s protest over the construction of the road, saying that it “lies completely within the territory of India”.  

Nepal’s Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali said the country is in constant touch with India over the map row. “Date and modality of informal talks are not fixed yet, but we are in constant touch with the Indian side… We want to resolve the issue through diplomatic means,” The Print quoted him as saying at a parliamentary committee.

HuffPost India spoke to Rakesh Sood, who served as Indian Ambassador to Nepal from 2008 to 2011, over email about the way ahead for India-Nepal relations and what he thinks about reports that suggest Nepal Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli is using this issue to distract from his government’s mishandling of the Covid-19 crisis.

If the bill to grant constitutional guarantee to the new map is passed by the Nepal Parliament, how will it affect Delhi’s bilateral relations with Kathmandu?

If the Nepal Parliament passes the...

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