India makes last-ditch offer to avert Nepal map revision

Nepal has already issued a revised political map but a Constitutional amendment will give finality to the process

India makes last-ditch offer to avert Nepal map revision

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 1

India is making a last-ditch effort to persuade Kathmandu from pushing ahead with a Constitutional amendment that will formalise the inclusion of territory claimed by India in its political map.

Nepal has already issued a revised political map but a Constitutional amendment, if passed by its Parliament, will give finality to the process and allow the new contours of the border to be incorporated in its coat of arms.

Sources said that India had attempted to convey to Nepal that it was ready for talks with the tactical aim of delaying the Parliamentary procedure.

The new offer conveyed through the former’s security and diplomatic officials is a revision of the old offer to hold Foreign Secretary-level talks after the COVID-19 epidemic is over.

The old offer of holding talks after the epidemic had riled the Nepalese political class and led to a hardening of stance.

Baluwatar had argued that if Defence Minister Rajnath Singh could inaugurate a road running through disputed areas while the COVID-19 was raging, talks could also be held during the pandemic.

While the Indian side has not officially acknowledged the feelers sent out to Nepal, Nepalese Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali said Kathmandu was in constant touch with New Delhi.

“The date and modality of informal talks are not fixed yet, but we are in constant touch with the Indian side… We want to resolve the issue through diplomatic means,” he was reported as having briefed Nepal’s Parliamentary committee on foreign affairs.

The last-minute Indian attempt is the same tactics in 2015 when S Jaishankar, the then Foreign Secretary, had landed in Kathmandu to block major legislative changes that had upset Madheshis living in the plains bordering India.

By the time Jaishankar landed, the die had been cast and Nepal did not heed the Indian Foreign Secretary’s call, leading to an unacknowledged economic blockade.

In the latest instance, the Nepal government has already tabled a bill to approve a new map which shows Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura — which also feature on India’s map — as part of its territory.

India has rejected the map, calling the revision a “unilateral act” and “not based on historical facts and evidences”.

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