Kalapani dispute between India and Nepal

Seems like our friendly neighborhood is not so friendly anymore.

Recently, Nepal unveiled a new political map that constitutes Kalapani, Lympiaddhura and Lipulekh of Uttarakhand as a part of Nepal 's territory. However, India lampooned the new map of Nepal arguing that Nepal 's new map involves artificial enlargement of territories which is not based on historical facts and evidence. Kalapani is claimed as an integral part of the territories of both the countries - India as a part of Uttarakhand's Pithoragarh and Nepal as a part of Dharchula. Mainly the bone of contention is the Kalapani - Limpiadhura - Lipulekh trijunction between India Nepal and China(Tibet), located on the banks of river Kali, the Kalapani territory lies in the Eastern border of Uttarakhand in India and Nepal 's Sudurpakschim Pradesh in the west.

Tracing the roots of controversy it all begun with two events that took place six months back. In November 2019 Indian Government released a new map of India in which the disputed land is inside Indian territory which annoyed the Nepal government. The inauguration of a new Road of 80 km by Defence minister on May 8th which goes along the border of Nepal and India and finally ends to Lipulekh pass through disputed areas. An offering to Hindu pilgrims making their journey easier to Kailash Mansarovar giving rise to recurrent protests in Nepal on 15 May 2020, And then Nepal released its new map and this whole controversy came out.

This issue goes back to the early 19th century when the British ruled India and Nepal was a conglomeration of small kingdoms under the reign of King Prithvi Narayan Shah. Britishers in India were trying to expand towards Nepal and there was a kingdom in Nepal called the Gorkha Kingdom, a war had happened called Anglo -Nepalese war of 1814, continued till 2 years after that a Treaty was signed between them called Sugauli Treaty for deciding the boundaries between two Nations. The Western boundary of Nepal would be along the Mahakali river and the Eastern Boundary would be along the Mechi river. The Indo Nepal border runs along the river Mahakali. The problem lies at the Western border of Nepal if you go along the upstream of the Mahakali river. The sources of the river divided into two in which one is much highlighted than another. Initially, Britishers considered the western river as a boundary, which means that that extra triangular disputed part which the whole controversy is about going to the Nepal kingdom.

But the story is not so feasible, What then?

This land held a lot of strategic importance as it would use while trading with China. Suddenly in the 1860s, the Britishers changed their map by considering the Eastern river as a boundary between British India and the kingdom of Nepal. The kingdom of Nepal didn't have a problem with this at that time because it was a small piece of land and wasn't much useful.

Since 1962 onwards, Nepal and India both have been showing Kalapani and lipulekh area in their respective maps due to Sino - Indo war. But this is the first time that Nepal has shown the Limpiyadhura region in its map. Nepal became democratic in 1990 and since then these areas are represented as the disputed region.

In July 2000, the former Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and then Prime Minister of Nepal discussed this issue to solve the border dispute. But this discussion gave no solution because India refused to withdraw its Army presence from lipulekh region.

In May 2015, India and China signed the trade agreement to use Lipulekh pass as a trade route and this is where it all began when the relations between the two started getting sour.

The comments on the matter, hurting each others' sentiments, and dragging China into the dispute may increase complications.


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