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Nepal objects to India’s new route to Mansarovar

Reacting to the development, the Nepal Foreign Ministry expressed “regret” and maintained that all territories east of Kali River, including Lipu Lekh, where India had constructed the road, “belongs to Nepal”.

SNS | New Delhi |

Nepal is upset with India over its announcement yesterday that it has completed a road that would provide a smooth ride for pilgrims headed to Kailash Mansarovar.

Reacting to the development, the Nepal Foreign Ministry expressed “regret” and maintained that all territories east of Kali River, including Lipu Lekh, where India had constructed the road, “belongs to Nepal”.

“This unilateral act runs against the understanding reached between the two Prime Ministers that a solution to boundary issues will be sought through negotiations. The government of Nepal remains committed to seek diplomatic solution to the boundary issues on the basis of historic treaty, documents, facts and maps in keeping with the spirit of close and friendly ties between the two countries,” it said in a statement, adding India should refrain from carrying out any activity ”inside the territory of Nepal”. There was no immediate reaction by India over the matter.

Both India and China consider Lipu Lekh as a trijunction whereas Nepal claims that it has sovereign right over the territory. Two other sectors — Kalapani and Limpiyadhura — are also involved in a similar controversy that has been underplayed by both Nepal and India.

The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) had completed work on the Ghatiabgarh-Lipulekh road on 17 April so that the three-day trek to the pass can be reduced to a two-day drive from Delhi.

The inauguration of the road was done yesterday by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh via video conferencing.

Nepal had in November last year lodged a strong protest with India after it included Kalapani in its territory in a new political map. Following this, the Nepal government had formed two committees which are yet to conduct field visits and prepare a status report on the dispute.

To assuage public sentiments, Nepal Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli had promised to reclaim the disputed land but no talks had been held with India on the issue.