India wants environment of trust before talks with Nepal


New Delhi, May 29: India wants Nepal to create an atmosphere of trust before it could go ahead with the foreign secretary level talks.

This is a continuous process and requires constructive and positive efforts, Anurag Srivastava, spokesperson, MEA said. India believes that there has been no lack of engagement between the two countries, he also said.

Foreign Secretary, Harsh Shringla has already met with Nepal Ambassador, Nilambar Acharya twice. Nepal has been seeking for talks on Kalapani, last year, after India released its new map following the re-organisation of Jammu and Kashmir.

It may be recalled that Nepal's decision to alter its map had been put on hold earlier this week.

Nepal PM, K P Oli had failed to build a consensus. May felt that this was an effort on Oli's part to whip up ultra-nationalistic sentiments against India.

Last week, after Nepal made public its new map, claiming territory under India's control, the government hit back saying that the revised official map was a unilateral act and not based on facts.

Anurag Srivastava, spokesperson Ministry of External Affairs said that what Nepal did was contrary to the bilateral understanding to resolve outstanding boundary issues through diplomatic dialogue. Such artificial enlargement of territorial claims will not be accepted by India, he also said.

India also urged Nepal to refrain from such unjustified cartographic assertion and respect India's sovereignty and territorial integrity. We hope that Nepalese leadership will create a positive atmosphere for diplomatic dialogue to resolve the outstanding boundary issues, the MEA spokesperson also said.

Last week Nepal's cabinet endorsed a new political map showing Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura under its territory, amid a border dispute with India.

The move announced by foreign minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali came weeks after he said that efforts were on to resolve the border issue with India through diplomatic initiatives.

Nepal's ruling Nepal Communist Party lawmakers have also tabled a special resolution in Parliament demanding return of Nepal's territory in Kalapani, Limpiyadhura and Lipulekh.

The Lipulekh pass is a far western point near Kalapani. Both India and Nepal claim Kalapani as an integral part of their territory - India as part of Uttarakhand's Pithoragarh district and Nepal as part of Dharchula district.

Gyawali said that the official map of Nepal will soon be made public by the Ministry of Land Management.

Indian officials say that they are upset that Nepal did not wait for the foreign secretary level talks. The government had assured Kathmandu that the talks would take place once the threat from COVID-19 subsides. Nepal on the other hand claimed that a dialogue was sought in November last year itself.

It may be recalled that India had donated the antimalarial drug HCQ and 30,000 test kits to Nepal.