India on Wednesday hit out at the Nepal government for its “artificial enlargement of territorial claims” to the Limpiyadhura-Lipulekh-Kalapani area and said that Nepal’s decision to release a revised map including the disputed region was not based on historical facts and evidence.

“The Government of Nepal has released a revised official map of Nepal today that includes parts of Indian territory,” the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement. “This unilateral act is not based on historical facts and evidence. It is contrary to the bilateral understanding to resolve the outstanding boundary issues through diplomatic dialogue. Such artificial enlargement of territorial claims will not be accepted by India.”

India asked Nepal to refrain from using a map to assert its territorial claims. “Nepal is well aware of India’s consistent position on this matter and we urge the Government of Nepal to refrain from such unjustified cartographic assertion and respect India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the foreign ministry added. “We hope that the Nepalese leadership will create a positive atmosphere for diplomatic dialogue to resolve the outstanding boundary issues.”

In a parliamentary address on Tuesday, Nepal Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli said that his country would reclaim the disputed region. He also blamed Indians for spreading coronavirus in Nepal.

The border dispute between India and Nepal began after New Delhi issued an official map last year, including the Kalapani and Lipulekh area that Nepal claims as its own. The tensions escalated after Defence Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated a new route for the Kailash Mansarovar yatra via the Lipulekh pass earlier this month.

Nepal has repeatedly claimed that India’s decision to build the road was a breach of an agreement between the two countries. Nepal claims the Lipulekh Pass on the basis of a treaty signed with British colonisers in 1816.

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