Nepal recently introduced revised map including the area of Lipulekh, Kaalapaani, and Limpiyadhura. Nepal and India both argues the areas to be theirs.
How it started:
In Nov 2019, India released the new map where they showed Kalapaani region in their territory. In May 2020, Defense Ministry of India inaugurated new road (around 80 KM road which goes from India – Nepal boarder) from this disputed area to Lipulekh. They said the purpose of this road is the roadway for the people who wants to visit Kailash Mansarovar, Tibet.
Nepal objects the broader road, and claimed to be its territory. Here, Nepal said India should have consulted Nepal before making the road. Indian Ministry of External Affairs however claims the road falls within Indian territory. People of Nepal protested to India over road passing through disputed broader areas. Meanwhile Indian Army Chief said, there is third party (China) involvement behind the protest in Nepal. Nepal disagreeing with it and released new political map showing the broader areas: Lipulekh, Kaalapaani, and Limpiyadhura as their own.
It started in 1800 AD, The Anglo – Nepalese war. The Anglo-Nepalese War (1 November 1814 – 4 March 1816), also known as the Gurkha War, was fought between the Kingdom of Gorkha (present-day Nepal) and the East India Company (EIC), (present-day India). Later on, after 2 years of war, the Treaty of Sugauli was signed between EIC and Nepal to establish boundary line. The agreement also declared the territory of Nepal and EIC. Nepal lose the area of Sikkim and Darjeling and gave it to EIC. The treaty also agreed the boundary of Nepal to be Mechi and Mahakaali river in east and west respectively. The dispute areas are now from western part of Nepal – the boundary line of Mahakali river.
In 1827, EIC released a map where it showed the area of Lipulekh, Kaalapaani, and Limpiyadhura was in territory of Nepal. Since the border area also connects with China, EIC cleverly added those areas in its territory for trade purposes with China in 1865 - revised map of British India. Here, official agreement states the areas to be the territory of Nepal, however EIC declares it to be theirs. Since it was official lands of Nepal according to Sugauli Treaty (though BIC added the areas was in their maps), Nepalese used to utilize the lands and started living there.
Next Event occurred in 1962 – Indo – China War. India requested the kingdom of Nepal to establish military posts in Kaalapaani. Since it was boarder to China as well, Indian government requested to have military posts for their defense in the war. Nepal gave official permission to use the area for military post. From then, there is presence of Indian Army with military posts. Time to time, Nepal requested India to take out the military posts from there, but by making different excuses, its still there. Later on, in 2015, there is agreement between India and China for trade pass, in which Nepal objected and claimed it to be its territory.
Nepal argues, since there is no any other treaty after Sugauli, and in the basis of it, the areas are officially Nepal's territory. In which India contends the areas has been used for centuries by them, so there is no point of making conflicts by making new political maps of those regions.
Nepal is geographically right. Its officially Nepal's territory. In my personal opinion, Indian government should have been more friendly and made agreement with Nepal before making roads in those areas. I don't find it wise to make fun of Indian government and vice – versa in different social media. Since there are trade relations, cultural similarities, no visas needed in each other's country and many more, there should be mutual understanding to handle conflicts in both nations. There is need to have diplomatic dialogues with respect for each other's nationalism. Finally, I respect the government of Nepal for revising Nepal's map with those areas.
Author is Development worker and involved in Peace related activities.
नेपालको आर्थिक अनलाइन पत्रिका