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Nepal summons Indian envoy to protest new road to Kailash Mansarovar

Nepal Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali conveyed to Kwatra Kathmandu’s displeasure over India constructing the road link via what he termed as disputed land of Lipulekh.

SNS | New Delhi |

The row between New Delhi and Kathmandu over the new road link to Kailash Mansarovar escalated today with Nepal summoning Indian Ambassador Vinay Mohan Kwatra to the foreign office and handing over a ”diplomatic note” to him.

Nepal Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali conveyed to Kwatra Kathmandu’s displeasure over India constructing the road link via what he termed as disputed land of Lipulekh.

The diplomatic note follows a statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Saturday objecting to the inauguration of the road link by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh the previous day.

New Delhi had rejected Nepal’s objection, saying the road link lay completely within the territory of India. ”The road follows the pre-existing route used by the pilgrims of the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra. Under the present project, the same road has been made pliable for the ease and convenience of pilgrims, locals and traders,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said.

Meanwhile, sources in Kathmandu were quoted as saying that Nepal has also sought diplomatic talks between the two neighbours at the earliest to resolve boundary issues. Domestic pressure has been mounting on the Nepal Government since the inauguration of the road. Nepal Communist Party’s Co-Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’, who is engaged in a power tussle with Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli, urged his government to go beyond diplomatic means in settling the border dispute.

Since November last year, when Indian came out with its new geographical map, Nepal has raised objections over the objections over the depiction of Kalapani as part of Uttarakhand in it.

India has told Nepal that the talks between the foreign secretaries would be scheduled after the countries have successfully dealt with the challenge posed by COVID-19 crisis. But the Nepal foreign minister has said his country could not wait for the end of the COVID-19 crisis for holding boundary talks with India.