‘Govt should prepare position paper on Lipulek Pass issue’Experts have stressed the need for ending the Lipulek Pass controversy through the diplomatic channel, days ahead of high-level visits by officials from India and China, the two nations engaged in the Doklam border dispute.
Experts have stressed the need for ending the Lipulek Pass controversy through the diplomatic channel, days ahead of high-level visits by officials from India and China, the two nations engaged in the Doklam border dispute. Nepal is advised to form a clear position over Lipulek Pass and collect solid evidence for initiating talks with the two neighbours.
India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is scheduled to arrive in Kathmandu on Thursday. Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang, one of the point men in the Communist Party of China, is set to visit Nepal for four days starting on August 14.
Former ambassador to China Mahesh Maskey suggested in a presentation at the Martin Chautari on Tuesday that Nepal should form a team of experts and diplomats to prepare a position paper based on which the government should initiate dialogue with India on the issue. Considering China’s statement that it will agree to a mutual decision of Nepal and India on Lipulek Pass, Maskey holds negotiations with India in particular as crucial.
“Nepal should form a team of experts who agree with the standpoint of Sugauli Treaty to negotiate with India as Nepal’s only strength would be its well researched evidence in favour of its position,” Maskey said.
According to Maskey, even though a joint statement issued by India and China in 2015 sparked a national debate about Nepal’s sovereign right on the Lipulek Pass, the fact is India and China already had a trade agreement in 1954 that identified Lipulek Pass as one of the six border passes between the two countries.
“This was before the establishment of diplomatic relations between Nepal and China. Hence, we need to find a solution for one of the most daunting diplomatic challenges,” Maskey said.
Apart from a government-to-government dialogue, Maskey also suggested the need for encouraging discussion between think tanks and media of both the countries based on the position paper.
“This conflict in Nepal-India relations is generated by British colonial interest which is no longer valid. With combination of flexibility and tenacity with negotiation, the Nepal side should be ready to find an acceptable solution for both the parties,” Maskey said.
Former director general of the Department of Survey and border researcher Buddhi Narayan Shrestha said Nepal should consider the map based on which the Sugauli Treaty was signed.