THE issue of encroachment of the Nepali territory in the Kalapani area by India took another undesired turn when the latter extended its road in the Lipulekh area recently. The Indian move has indeed drawn a widespread condemnation in Nepal, which hints at existing seething resentment among the Nepalis against what many termed as India's hegemonic attitude towards its small neighbour. It appears that the Nepal's umpteenth of efforts to remind India that the areas situated at the east of Kali (Mahakali) River belongs to Nepal have indeed fallen into the deaf years of India. It may be recalled apart from at the Kalapani area, Nepal has its outstanding border dispute with Indian at Susta. Also, the issue of disappearance of several of border pillars along Nepal-India border demarcating the exact border between the two countries and management of no-man's land at border area has also perplexed Nepal for years.
The Government of Nepal has gone on record stating that the Nepal has all documents, including the Sugauli Treaty, historical facts and evidences that clearly state the areas of Lipulekh, Limpiyadhura and Kalapani belongs to Nepal. However, the Indian side has clearly overlooked Nepal's claim which was made on the basis of historical documents and evidences. India has now been accused of exhibiting its hegemonic attitude after it extending a pliable road in Lipulekh. While expressing his shock over the construction of the road by India, Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali told the Parliament that the Suguali Treaty of 1816 and supplementary treaties following it are the guidelines on the border issues between Nepal and India while the three supplementary treaties signed till 1875 have fixed the border between the two countries. What is important, according to FM Gyawali, is, not a single supplementary treaty has been signed regarding the alteration of border. The issue therefore needs to be sorted out in line with these treaties, historic facts and evidences. The highly deplorable act of extending the road into the Nepali territory came at a time when Nepal was requesting India for holding bilateral talks by sending diplomatic notes after India included the Nepali territory in its eighth edition of political map, another Indian act that shocked whole of Nepal.
The act of grabbing the Nepali territory and constructing a road on it is unquestionably unfortunate act. However, it is not an opportune moment for going for international arbitration regarding resolution of the border issue. The government must first hold diplomatic dialogues with India by shoring up all support at home. It must tell India that the encroached land east of the Kali River belonging to Nepal where India has no right to construct its road, let alone setting up army post there. Lately, the Government of India stated that the land on which it extended road falls under its own territory, which is nothing but a move to subvert the available treaties, documents historical evidences and facts. The India has however expressed its readiness to hold dialogue on the issue. Nepal Government must tell the Indian side in strongest terms the encroached land falls under the Nepali territory. If India shows its respect towards the overriding concerns of Nepal and undertakes its acts accordingly, it will without doubt help keep the age-old relationship between the two close neighbours on the right track.