Amid border row, Nepal Parliament passes bill redrawing its political map; ties will remain strong, says Indian Army chief General MM Naravane
The Nepal Parliament's lower house unanimously voted on Saturday to amend the Constitution to update the country's new political map, laying claim over the strategically key areas of Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura along the border with India
The Nepal Parliament's lower house unanimously voted on Saturday to amend the Constitution to update the country's new political map, laying claim over the strategically key areas of Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura along the border with India.
India has been maintaining that these three areas belong to it, and cautioned Nepal that 'artificial enlargement' of territorial claims will not be acceptable to it.
On Saturday, major Opposition parties including Nepali Congress (NC), Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal (RJP-N) and Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) voted in favour of the government bill to amend Schedule 3 of the Constitution to update the national emblem by incorporating the new controversial map.
A two-thirds majority was required in the 275-member House of Representatives or the lower house to pass the bill.
On 9 June, the Neapli Parliament had unanimously endorsed a proposal to consider the Constitution amendment bill to pave way for endorsing the new political map amid the border row with India.
Now, the bill will be sent to Nepal's National Assembly where it will undergo a similar process. The ruling Nepal Communist Party commands two-thirds majority in the National Assembly.
The NA will have to give lawmakers 72 hours to move amendments against the bill's provisions, if any.
After the National Assembly passes the bill, it will be submitted to the President of Nepal for authentication, after which the bill will be incorporated in the Constitution.
Ties will remain strong: General MM Naravane
Shortly before the Nepalese Parliament voted in favour of the bill on Saturday, Indian Army Chief General MM Naravane had said that the relationship between India and Nepal has always been strong and will remain so in the future.
"We have a very strong relationship with Nepal. We have geographical, cultural, historical, religious linkages. We have very strong people-to-people connect. Our relation with them has always been strong and will remain strong in the future," Gen Naravane said.
He was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the passing out parade of the Indian Military Academy.
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 8 May.
Nepal reacted sharply to the inauguration of the road claiming that it passed through Nepalese territory.
In the midst of the row, Gen Naravane had said that there were reasons to believe that Nepal objected to the road at the behest of "someone else", in an apparent reference to a possible role by China in the matter. The comments triggered an angry reaction from Nepal.
Days later, Nepal came out with the new map showing Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura as its territories.
After Nepal released the map, India reacted sharply and cautioned the country that such "artificial enlargement" of territorial claims will not be acceptable to it.
The Lipulekh pass is a far western point near Kalapani, a disputed border area between Nepal and India. Both India and Nepal claim Kalapani as an integral part of their territory - India as part of Uttarakhand's Pithoragarh district and Nepal as part of Dharchula district.
Nepalese Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has been asserting that Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura belong to Nepal and vowed to "reclaim" them from India.
With inputs from PTI
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