India on Monday said that it had responded to Nepal’s offers for talks positively on the border row yet Kathmandu acted in haste in passing the new map which includes Indian territories.
Nepal’s ruling and opposition political parties on Saturday voted in unison to amend the Constitution to update the national emblem by incorporating the controversial map incorporating Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura in India’s Uttrakhand, a move described by New Delhi as “untenable.”
Alluding to Oli administration’s leanings towards China, sources said, “Our offer of talks as well as our response to their offer was positive. In fact, we offered Foreign Secretary-level phone call and also visits of the two foreign secretaries as recently as just before the tabling of the bill.”
Accusing the Nepalese Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli of lying to his parliament and his people sources said, “The Nepalese side did not respond to our offer and went ahead with the passing of the bill. We do not know why Prime Minister Oli did not inform Nepalese people or parliament about our offer for talks. We keep hearing that we didn’t offer FS-level virtual conference or even call. It was offered.”
Nepal has rejected these claims made by India. Highly placed sources in the Nepal government told India Today TV, “Nepal had formally written to India twice for Foreign Secretary-level meetings and handed over diplomatic notes twice through ambassadors. But, Nepal has not gotten a single formal response from the Indian side yet. India has not approached us for dialogue formally.”
Nepal’s Lower House of the Parliament passed a Constitutional Amendment Bill revising the Coat of Arms and amending the map to incorporate areas of Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura.
Prime Minister Oli had delivered his speech on the floor of the House where he said that the only way to resolve the issue is through dialogue but that Kathmandu is yet to hear from New Delhi.
The ties between the two countries came under strain after Defence Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated an 80-km-long strategically crucial road connecting the Lipulekh pass with Dharchula in Uttarakhand on May 8.
Nepal reacted sharply and days later came out with a new political map of the country featuring disputed areas of Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura which India has been maintaining belong to it.
Now, Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said India and Nepal ties are not an ordinary one and the two countries share a familial relationship.
He said Nepal has some misconceptions about road construction.
“Our relationship with Nepal is not just social, geographic, historic or cultural but even spiritual,” he said addressing a virtual rally in Uttarakhand from New Delhi.
“People of India have no ill-feeling for Nepal,” he said.
He also referred to the contribution and courage of Nepalese who are part of the Gurkha regiment of the Indian Army.
Rajnath Singh’s comments came as senior Congress leader Dr Karan Singh slammed Nepalese PM KP Sharma Oli over the map change issue, but at the same time questioned Modi govt’s policy on the border issue with Nepal.
In a statement issued on Monday, he said, “I must express my sense of deep regret and dismay that Prime Minister Oli has moved the country into what can only ve described as an irreversible confrontational posture via-a-vis India… that said, I must add that we should never have allowed the situation to deteriorate like this.”
The amendment was passed in Nepal’s Parliament with 258 of 275 votes. It is also worth noting that not even a single member of the Nepal Parliament voted against the amendment and even the country’s opposition parties such as NC, RJP-N and RPP voted in favour. It has now been tabled in the Upper House and likely to be put for a vote on Wednesday.
To a question on PM Oli’s claims that 85 per cent of the Covid-19 cases in Nepal came from India, sources said, “This is false and distorted. We are actually surprised that they have singled out India when there are so many Nepalese nationals coming from other countries, including China. In fact, we have given a lot of overflight clearances and facilitated their return from other countries. Can just say that it is the mindset of the current administration.”
Courtesy – IndiaToday