Nepal protests against construction of key road connecting Lipulekh pass and Uttarakhand’s Dharchula

Nepal Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali said that the Kalapani border issue will be resolved with India through diplomatic initiatives.

May 11, 2020 06:40 pm | Updated December 02, 2021 10:45 pm IST - Kathmandu:

Nepalese Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali. File

Nepalese Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali. File

Nepal on Monday handed over a diplomatic note to the Indian envoy in Kathmandu to protest against the construction of a key road connecting the Lipulekh pass with Dharchula in Uttarakhand.

The 80km new road inaugurated by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday is expected to help pilgrims visiting Kailash-Mansarovar in Tibet in China as it is around 90km from the Lipulekh pass.

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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.

Indian Ambassador to Nepal Vinaya Mohan Kwatra met Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali at his office, according to a Foreign Ministry statement.

During the meeting, Mr. Gyawali conveyed to the Indian Ambassador the Nepal government’s position on boundary issues.

“The ministry has handed over a diplomatic note to ambassador Kwatra,” it said.

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The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in New Delhi on Saturday said the road lies well within the Indian territory.

“The recently inaugurated road section in Pithoragarh district in the state of Uttarakhand lies completely within the territory of India. The road follows the pre-existing route used by the pilgrims of the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra. Under the present project, the same road has been made pliable for the ease and convenience of pilgrims, locals and traders,” the MEA said in a statement.

The Nepal government raised objection to the construction of the road at the Lipulekh area by the government of India to connect to the Mansarovar of Tibet “unilaterally”.

Nepal has claimed that the territory on which the road was constructed lies within its territory.

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In a statement issued on May 9, the Nepalese Foreign Ministry said that “it has learnt with regret about the inauguration by India of the Link Road connecting Lipulekh that passes through Nepalese territory.”

Addressing the Parliament on Sunday, Foreign Minister Gyawali said that the Kalapani border issue will be resolved with India through diplomatic initiatives.

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