Nepal Parliament Approves New Map As Land Row With India Escalates

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Kathmandu: The lower house of Nepal’s parliament today approved a new map of the country, including areas disputed with India, the speaker of the national legislature said. The move signals a hardening of Nepal’s position over a decades-long border row that has strained ties between the two neighbours.

India has rejected Nepal’s new map, calling it an “unilateral act” that is not based on historical facts or evidence.

Nepal published its revised map in May after India inaugurated an 80-km road connecting Uttarakhand with Lipulekh on the border with Tibet that passes through the land that Nepal says belongs to it.

The map shows a sliver of land on the northwest tip of Nepal as the Nepali territory.

Agni Prasad Sapkota, Speaker of Nepal’s House of Representatives, said the new map was approved by 258 out of 275 members of parliament, exceeding the required two-thirds majority. There were no votes against.

The map must also be passed by the National Assembly, the parliament’s upper chamber, and approved by President Bidhya Devi Bhandari before it becomes a part of the constitution.

Prachanda, a former prime minister and chief of the ruling Nepal Communist Party, said Nepal did not want to complicate the matter and seeks a peaceful settlement.

“We want to resolve the issue with India through peaceful talks at the political and diplomatic levels,” Prachanda, the former Maoist chief, who still goes by his war nom de guerre, said in parliament on Saturday.

It’s Untenable, Says India

India meanwhile termed as untenable Nepal’s lower house of parliament amending the country’s Constitution to update its new political map featuring areas which New Delhi maintains belong to it.

The ministry of external affairs (MEA) said the artificial enlargement of territorial claims by Nepal is not based on historical facts or evidence.”This artificial enlargement of claims is not based on historical fact or evidence and is not tenable. It is also violative of our current understanding to hold talks on outstanding boundary issues,” MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said.

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