The Lower House of Nepal’s Parliament on Tuesday expressed cross-party support for the new map which shows the disputed Kalapani region as part of Nepalese sovereign territory. During the discussion on the Second Constitution Amendment Bill, which will grant legal status to the updated map, Nepal’s Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali said India has undermined Nepal’s sovereignty by building the Lipulekh link road in the area.
“According to the Sugauli treaty (1816), the region of Limpiyadhura, Lipulekh and Kalapani are part of Nepal's sovereign territory and any unilateral change in our borders is unacceptable to us. We regard the inauguration of the Lipulekh link road as a serious matter. This action has undermined Nepal's sovereignty,” said Mr. Gyawali.
He addressed the Parliament and presented a detailed answer to questions on the updated map which was unveiled on May 20.
The legislative discussion or Saiddhantik Chhalphal on the amendment commenced on Tuesday morning as the government of Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli, helped by the main opposition Nepali Congress, pushed for fast clearance of the bill. The Madhesi block, which had earlier urged for a “package amendment” including some of their concerns, also extended support with the Janata Samajvadi Party joining hands with the Nepal Communist Party-led move.
Mr. Gyawali said Nepal does not feel happy while recollecting the Sugauli treaty as it was part of a compromise deal with the colonial rulers of India, however, that is the basis of Nepal’s present territorial identity. He said despite repeated efforts, Nepal's request for a resolution of the disputes at Kalapani in the west and Susta on the U.P.-Bihar border were not resolved in the past . “India acknowledged these two issues as unresolved and pending in 1997,” the Minister said.
Also read | Why are India and Nepal fighting over Kalapani?
Following the legislative discussion, the bill is ready for passing in the lower house though further discussions are required as per procedural rules. The discussion in the Pratinidhi Sabha saw passionate speeches from MPs of various political parties who urged Prime Minister Oli to protect Nepal's geographical integrity, sovereignty and independence.
Speaking on the bill, Defence Minister Ishwor Pokhrel said Nepal is confident of regaining the territory from India through diplomatic dialogue.