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India Reacts To Outrage In Nepal Over Lipulekh Road Expansion; Says Position 'unambiguous'

Addressing a gathering in Haldwani, PM Modi had said that India has built the road up to Lipulekh in Pithoragarh district and it is being expanded further.

India

Image: ANI


Amid outrage in Nepal over Prime Minister Narendra Modi's announcement to expand the road in Uttarakhand's Lipulekh last month, the Centre said that India's position on the India-Nepal boundary is "well-known, consistent and unambiguous." The state said that India has communicated the same to the government of Nepal.

"It is our view that the established inter-government mechanisms and channels are most appropriate for communication and dialogue. Mutually agreed boundary issues that are outstanding can always be addressed in the spirit of our close and friendly bilateral relation," the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu said.

Addressing a gathering in Haldwani, PM Modi had said that India has built the road up to Lipulekh in Pithoragarh district and it is being expanded further. PM Modi's remarks have led to an outrage in Nepal with the Opposition and other parties condemning it.

According to a report by Nepal-based newspaper, Republica, the ruling Nepali Congress (NC), in a statement, demanded India to immediately withdraw its troops stationed in the Kalapani region and amicably resolve the border row through high-level diplomatic negotiation based on historical facts and evidence.

Nepal claims Kalapani, Lipulekh and Limpiyadhura near the tri-junction with China as its own territory and had earlier issued a new political map to justify it.

Kalapani-Lipulekh border dispute

The Lipulekh pass is a far western point near Kalapani, a disputed border area between India and Nepal. Both India and Nepal have claimed Kalapani as an integral part of their territory. In India, it falls in Uttarakhand’s Pithoragarh district and in Nepal it is part of Dharchula district.

Bilateral relations between the two Asian neighbours came under strain under then Nepal Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli after India opened an 80-km-long strategically vital road linking the Lipulekh pass with Dharchula in Uttarakhand in May 2020. India said the road section in Pithoragarh district lies completely within its territory.

Nepal opposed the inauguration of the road arguing that it passed through its territory. Days later, Nepal came out with a new political map showing Kalapani, Lipulekh and Limpiyadhura as its territories.

India responded sharply to the new map, calling it a "unilateral act" and cautioning Kathmandu that "artificial enlargement" of territorial claims will not be accepted.

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