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Nepal’s new map artificial enlargement, says India

Chandragiri hill in Nepal. Photo: trekkingteamgroup.com. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

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KATHMANDU/NEW DELHI, May 21, 2020, The Asian Age. A day after Nepal’s Cabinet endorsed a map showing Kalapani, Limpiyadhura and Lipulekh areas as part of its territory, India on Wednesday termed it as “artificial enlargement of (Nepalese) territorial claims (that) will not be accepted,” The Asian Age reported.

India claims these areas are part of its territory. In a statement issued late evening, India’s ministry of external affairs said Nepal’s revised map “includes parts of Indian territory” and that “this unilateral act is not based on historical facts and evidence”. It urged Kathmandu “to respect India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity”.

Tensions between the two neighbours have been rising since early this month, when defence minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated an 80 km-long high-altitude road from Dharchula to the Lipulekh Pass.

The Himalayan country responded by saying that it had “learnt with regret about the ‘inauguration’ by India of the Link Road” and claimed that it “passes through Nepali territory”. But New Delhi said the road lies within India’s territory.

The relations seem to be fraying by the day and reports on Wednesday quoted Nepal Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli as saying that the coronavirus coming from India is “more lethal” than those from China and Italy.

He blamed the rising number of Covid-19 cases in the Himalayan nation on those illegally entering the country from India.

Oli, in an address to Parliament in Kathmandu, asserted that Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura belong to Nepal and vowed to “reclaim” them from India through political and diplomatic efforts.

The territories belong to Nepal, he said, “but India has made it a disputed area by keeping its Army there”. “Nepalis were blocked from going there after India stationed its Army,” he said.

He reportedly slammed India’s actions, asking whether the motto on the national emblem, “Satyameva Jayate” (Truth Alone Triumphs), should actually be “Simhaeva Jayate” (The Lion’s Might Alone Triumphs).

Oli was further quoted in media reports as saying, “Those who are coming from India through illegal channels are spreading the virus in the country and some local representatives and party leaders are responsible for bringing in people from India without proper testing. It has become very difficult to contain Covid-19 due to the flow of people from outside. Indian virus looks more lethal than Chinese and Italian now. More are getting infected.”

Last week India had gifted Covid-19 PCR Test Kits to Nepal to test 30,000 people, and last month it had approved the despatch of anti-malarial HCQ tablets to Nepal.

Coronavirus cases in Nepal on Wednesday rose to 427. Two persons, a man and a woman, have died due to Covid-19 in the country so far.

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