Prime Minister Narendra Modi with his Nepalese counterpart KP Sharma Oli. (AP Photo/File)

The Indian Express

Open to engage with Nepal to solve border row, indicates India

India also said it is “open to engaging” with all its neighbours, and the process requires “constructive and positive efforts”.


A day after the Nepal government’s move to bring in a constitution amendment Bill to give legal sanctity to its new map was deferred for the time being, India on Thursday said this matter is receiving “careful consideration” in Nepal taking its “seriousness” into account.

India also said it is “open to engaging” with all its neighbours, and the process requires “constructive and positive efforts”.

On Wednesday, the Nepal government failed to table the scheduled Bill, to give legal sanctity to its new map following a territorial spat with India, in Parliament.

On Thursday, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said, “We note that this matter is receiving careful consideration in Nepal, taking its seriousness into account. India is open to engaging with all its neighbours on the basis of mutual sensitivity and mutual respect, in an environment of trust and confidence. This is a continuous process and requires constructive and positive efforts.”

He also said India attaches “great importance” to the deep-rooted historical, cultural and friendly relations with Nepal.

India’s new road from Dharchula to Lipulekh as part of the Mansarovar Yatra route angered the Oli government, which came out with a new map, adding to it an area of 370 sq km at the tri-junction of Nepal, India and China (Tibet) that India claims is its territory.

A constitution amendment Bill was negotiated to legitimise the alteration or addition of Kalapani, Lipulekh and Limpiyadhura to the new map.

Srivastava said: “In recent years, our relations have been on an upward trajectory, which is evident from expanding and diversified bilateral cooperation and increased GoI’s assistance for development and connectivity projects. This has resulted in timely implementation of several large-scale and critical projects.”

He said, “Even in these challenging times of Covid-19 pandemic, India has ensured unimpeded trade and supply of essentials, including medicines, to Nepal, besides providing assistance in terms of medical supplies and other facilitation.”

Government sources had on Thursday said that South Block is “carefully following” the developments in Nepal where a “larger debate” is underway.

“Border issues are sensitive by nature and require trust and confidence to be resolved to mutual satisfaction,” a source had said. “We note that there is a larger ongoing debate on this matter in Nepal. It underlines the seriousness of this issue. It also demonstrates the value being attached to relations between Nepal and India.”

On Wednesday, the government of Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli failed to table the scheduled Bill in Nepal’s Parliament owing to differences within the ruling party and more time being sought by the main Opposition.

A constitution amendment requires a two-thirds majority vote. The Oli government is short of nine MPs in the 275-member House of Representatives.

When it promulgated its constitution on September 20, 2015, Nepal had said the country’s area and size would be as shown in the map published on the day.