India responds to Nepal’s objection to road link via LipulekhIndian Ministry of External Affairs says the road section lies within the territory of India.
India on Saturday said that the road section to Lipulekh lies within the territory of India.
“We have seen the press release dated May 9, 2020 issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Nepal pertaining to the inauguration of a road in India,” said a spokesperson for India’s Ministry of External Affairs in a press statement. “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.”
A day after India’s Ministry of Defence announced that India inaugurated alink road from Dharchula to Lipulekh, identifying Lipulekh as the “China border”, Nepal’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Saturday issued a statement, saying that India opening a road via Lipulekh was against the understanding reached between the two countries.
The ministry also called on the Indian government to refrain from carrying out any activity inside Nepali territory.
“The Government of Nepal has learnt with regret about the ‘inauguration’ yesterday by India of ‘Link Road’ connecting to Lipu Lekh (Nepal), which passes through Nepali territory [SIC],” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on Saturday. “The Government of Nepal has consistently maintained that as per the Sugauli Treaty (1816), all the territories east of Kali (Mahakali) River, including Limpiyadhura, Kalapani and Lipu Lekh, belong to Nepal.”
The ministry said that India’s “unilateral act” runs against the understanding reached between the two countries at the highest political level that a solution to the boundary dispute would be sought via diplomatic negotiation.
In response, New Delhi said that India and Nepal have established a mechanism to deal with all boundary matters.
“The boundary delineation exercise with Nepal is ongoing,” said the Indian ministry. “India is committed to resolving outstanding boundary issues through diplomatic dialogue and in the spirit of our close and friendly bilateral relations with Nepal.”
Nepal’ Foreign Ministry said that the government of Nepal twice proposed dates for a meeting of the foreign secretaries of the two countries, as mandated by their leaders.
“It is still awaiting a response from India,” said the ministry.
In response, India has said both sides are also in the process of scheduling Foreign Secretary level talks which will be held once the dates are finalised between the two sides after the two societies and governments have successfully dealt with the challenge of Covid-19 emergency.