File photo of Nepal Prime Minister KP Oli. (PTI)
NEW DELHI: The K P Oli government’s attempts to legitimise Nepal’s new map, which includes parts of India’s Pithoragarh district, is likely to get the final seal of approval from Parliament on Saturday in what is certain to severely strain bilateral ties.
The constitution amendment bill for revising the map in Nepal’s national emblem will be put to vote on Saturday. The outcome though seems to be a foregone conclusion as all major parties have said they will vote in favour of the amendment. Nepal has hurriedly gone about the process of seeking the approval of Parliament despite attempts by India to reach out in the past few days. India had on Thursday reminded Kathmandu that it had ensured uninterrupted supplies of essentials to Nepal even in the middle of the lockdown.
However, according to Indian government sources, Nepal’s “sledgehammer tactics” on a sensitive border issue preclude any meaningful or productive engagement between the two countries on the Kalapani issue despite Nepal continuing to publicly insist on talks.
Nepal justifies its action saying it has been calling for talks on the issue since November last year. As Oli has said, the provocation for Nepal’s decision to issue a new map was India’s inauguration of a road to the Lipulekh Pass, which is among the areas Nepal has shown as its own. Nepal also claims Kalapani area and Limpiyadhura which it describes as where the Kali river, that acts as Nepal’s western border, originates.
India has also found it difficult to contend with some of the statements made by Oli and foreign minister Pradeep Gyawali on the boundary issue. Even while talking about holding talks with New Delhi, Oli accused India of creating “an artificial Kali river” and encroaching “Nepalese territory through deploying the army” at Kalapani.