Government asked to make public its official stance on Lipulekh issue

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KATHMANDU: The government has been asked to make public its official stance on Lipulekh issue. Leaders in opposition, Nepal Communist Party (NCP) leaders, and public are asking the government for its official statement on India’s move of opening a link road to China via Nepal’s Lipulekh.

Spokesperson of Nepali Congress Bishwa Prakash Sharma, NC leader Gagan Thapa, Ruling NCP’s leaders Narayan Kaji Shrestha and Bhim Rawal, Rastriya Prajatantra Party’s Kamal Thapa, Sajha Party, among others have asked the government to present its stance on India’s unilateral construction of the new road link via Nepali land.

India, in a surprise move, inaugurated a link road to connect India with Mansarovar of Tibet in China via Lipulekh region, on Friday.

With this, the longstanding border dispute between Nepal and India has resurfaced.

India’s Defence Minister Rajnath Singh remotely inaugurated the road, on Friday, saying that they had achieved road connectivity from Dharchula to Lipulekh through the Kailash-Mansarovar Yatra Route.

In response, Minister for Foreign Affairs Pradeep Gyawali, on Friday, shared that the government received information regarding the issue via various media reports, detailed information regarding which has been sought from the Government of India via Indian Embassy in Nepal.

He stated that Nepal government would make an official remark on the issue after receiving details from the Indian side, adding that the government has always been alert about Lipulekh and Kalapani issues. Earlier, the border dispute had surfaced after India unilaterally unveiled its political map incorporating the Nepali territory on it.

In response to that, Minister Gyawali had said the government did not accept Lipulekh as tri-junction between Nepal, India and China. He added that it would be finalised only after Nepal and India agree to demarcation and that the government did not accept the previous regime’s wrong decision.

In 2014, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping made a joint statement stating that Lipulekh was a bilateral trade route between the two countries. Nepal had been opposing the statement saying it was against the provisions of the 1816 Sugauli Treaty signed between Nepal and India. “No country can discuss Nepal’s territory in Nepal’s absence,” Gyawali had said.

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