Delay in talks with Nepal is diplomatic lapse by India: Karan SinghSenior Congress I leader says India should have taken the matter more seriously when Nepal proposed dialogue in November last year.
Senior member of the Indian National Congress and an expert on Nepal-India relations Karan Singh has said that the souring of relations between Nepal and India lately was largely due to a diplomatic lapse by India.
Despite the boundary issue being a long-standing one, said Singh, he was surprised India did not take the matter seriously when Nepal raised the issue in November last year. "We should not have let the situation deteriorate to such extent. India should have immediately initiated foreign secretary level talks and then, if necessary, raised them to the level of foreign minister or even the prime minister," the former union minister said in a statement on Monday.
India’s inclusion of Kalapani within its territory on a new political map back in November had created an uproar in Nepal. Further controversy followed when India inaugurated a road via Lipulekh, a Nepali territory, linking it with Kailash-Mansarovar in the Tibet Autonomous Region of China.
In the wake of the Kalapani controversy, Nepal had proposed talks at the foreign secretary level, as mandated by the leaders of both countries, but there was no response from New Delhi.
Singh expressed his sense of deep regret and dismay that Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli had moved the country into what he described as an irreversible confrontational posture. “Whatever impact this move may or may not have on India, I fear that the consequences for Nepal will not be favourable for the people of that beautiful country," Singh stated.
Following India’s inauguration of the road, the Cabinet, on May 20, issued a new administrative map of the country showing Limpiyadhura, Lipulekh and Kalapani, all territories claimed by India, within Nepal’s borders. The government, two days later, registered a bill in Parliament, seeking to amend Schedule 3 of the constitution to update Nepal’s new political map in the national emblem.
The government based the new map on the Sugauli Treaty signed between Nepal and British India in 1816, which states that all lands east of the Kali River belong to Nepal. While Nepal argues that Limpiyadhura is the origin of the river, India has claimed Kalapani as the source.
The House of Representatives on Saturday unanimously endorsed the second amendment to the constitution of Nepal to update the country’s new map in the national emblem. Following the endorsement, India said it “noted” the developments in Kathmandu.
A day later, the National Assembly also passed the bill unanimously.