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NEW DELHI: The proposal for widening of the road to the Lipulekh Pass area in Uttarakhand has led to another round of outrage in Nepal with both Opposition and parties in the ruling coalition asking India to not undermine Nepal’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Nepal claims Lipulekh, Limpiyadhura and Kalapani area near the tri-junction with China as its own and issued a new political map earlier to justify its claim.
While the Nepal coalition government has so far remained silent on remarks by PM Narendra Modi last month on expansion of the road, the main ruling party, Nepali Congress, said in a statement Friday that India’s decision to further expand the road was objectionable. It also called upon India to immediately recall its troops from the area.
“Nepali Congress is clear that Lipulekh, Limpiyadhura and Kalapani are Nepalese territory. Nepal should have its rights to use this geography. Indian troops stationed in Kalapani must be returned,” it said in the statement.
Modi had said at a public event in Haldwani on December 30 that India, apart from working on the Tanakpur-Pithoragarh all-weather road, had also built the road up to Lipulekh and that “it is being expanded further”.
While the construction of the road to Lipulekh Pass near the tri-junction with China led to one of the worst diplomatic crises between India and Nepal in recent memory, the Indian government has maintained that that the road only follows the pre-existing route used by the pilgrims of the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra. Under the present project, as the government earlier said, the same road has been made pliable for the ease and convenience of pilgrims, locals and traders. Nepal claims the Lipulekh and Kalapani area in Uttarakhand even as the area remains under India’s administrative control.
Another ruling party, CPN (Unified Socialist), had said in a statement earlier this week that any development activity conducted in the area without consultation with the Nepal government is “totally illegal and it is a flagrant violation of our territorial integrity and national sovereignty”.
“The Indian government knows very well that the area of Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura are the sovereign territories of Nepal. We would like to request the government of Nepal to take necessary measures to protect our territory on the border,” said former PM Jhala Nath Khanal, who is also heads the international wing of the party. The statement, according to Khanal, was in response to remarks by Modi in Uttarakhand that the road being “illegally built” in the Nepali territory of Lipulekh is being further widened.
The main opposition Nepal Communist Party-UML has also fuelled the uproar by calling upon India to put an end to activities that violate sovereignty, territorial integrity and self-respect of Nepal.
“CPN-UML unwaveringly believes that construction of roads and other structures should be stopped, the issue should be promptly resolved through dialogue and no structure should be built at the state level until resolution is reached through dialogue,” said the party in a statement.
The party has also urged the government to immediately start dialogue with India on the issue, and to ask India to stop “all kinds of bullying and to take fruitful initiative to establish practical ownership of Nepal over the encroached territories”.





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