The new political map of India, recently released by the government to account for the bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir, has triggered fresh protests over an old issue in Nepal.
Mapped within Uttarakhand is a 372-sq km area called Kalapani, bordering far-west Nepal and Tibet. While the Nepal government and political parties have protested, India has said the new map does not revise the existing boundary with Nepal.
Following reports about the publication of the map, Nepal government described India’s decision as “unilateral” and claimed that it will “defend its international border”.
The new political map of India, recently released by the government to account for the bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir, shows Kalapani as part of India.
Defining the boundaries
Nepal’s western boundary with India was marked out in the Treaty of Sugauli between the East India Company and Nepal in 1816. Nepali authorities claim that people living in the low-density area were included in the Census of Nepal until 58 years ago.
Five years ago, Foreign Minister Mahendra Bahadur Pande claimed that the late King Mahendra had “handed over the territory to India”. By some accounts in Nepal, this allegedly took place in the wake of India-China War of 1962.
A committee formed by the Nepal government to study this claim submitted a report to Prime Minister Oli during his first tenure. It claimed that India had “occupied” an additional 62 sq km land.
The Prime Ministers of the two countries discussed the issue in 2000, with Atal Bihari Vajpayee assuring Nepal that India would not occupy even an inch of Nepal. Five years ago, the matter was referred to a new mechanism comprising foreign secretaries of both sides.
Apart from Kalapani, another unresolved issue involves a vast area along the Nepal-Uttar Pradesh border. During his visit to Nepal in 2014, Prime Minister Modi had said that the Susta and Kalapani issues would be sorted out.
Source: The Indian Express
Relevant for GS Prelims & Mains Paper II; IOBR