Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday said India’s ties with Nepal are “not ordinary” and that “no power in the world” can break their relationship, PTI reported.
This came after Nepal’s Lower House on Saturday passed a bill to amend its Constitution and alter its map by including territories that fall under Indian territory. India had rejected the move, saying it was “not tenable”. The legislation was tabled in the country’s Upper House on Sunday.
Singh said the Centre wants to sort out its misunderstanding with the neighbouring country through dialogue, adding that the two countries were bound together by “roti and beti”. “Our rations are not only historical and cultural, but also spiritual, and India can never forget it,” he said during a virtual address to the people of Uttarakhand. “How can relations between India and Nepal break?”
If the road built by India has caused any misunderstanding among the people of Nepal, then it will be solved through dialogue, the Union minister said. However, Singh asserted that the road built by the Board Road Organisation in Lipulekh, one of the three areas included by Nepal in its new map, is “very much a part of the Indian territory”, NDTV reported.
On Saturday, the lower house of Nepal’s Parliament had voted in favour of the new map which shows three areas – Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura – within its own borders. The ruling Nepal Communist Party commands two-thirds majority in the National Assembly, the Upper House of the country’s Parliament. Upon endorsement from both houses, the bill will be submitted to President Bidhya Devi Bhandari, who will order issuance of the bill.
Nepal has maintained that India has claimed the three areas by building a road over it. On Saturday, India’s Ministry of External Affairs had responded saying that Nepal’s artificial enlargement of claims is “not based on historical fact or evidence and is not tenable”.
The border dispute
The dispute began after New Delhi issued an official map last year, including the Kalapani and Lipulekh area that Nepal regards as its own. The tension escalated further after India inaugurated the 80-km road in Uttarakhand, which connects close to the Line of Actual Control and opens a new route for Kailash Mansarovar yatra via the Lipulekh pass.
Nepal has repeatedly claimed this was a breach of an agreement between the two countries, but India has said the new route is “completely within the territory” of the country.