Contending India’s territorial enlargement and the struggle to end its disputes on jurisdictional boundaries, Nepal Prime Minister K.P.Sharma Oli on 10th June countered India, accusing it of infringement by asserting that it has ‘encroached’ Nepali territory since 1962 by deposing its Army in the Kalapani region and creating an ‘artificial’ Kali river to delineate the border.
On 20th May 2020, Nepal released their political map at a press conference in Kathmandu by Minister of Land Management – Padma Kumari Aryal, who announced that the government of Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli is entrusted with procuring the territorial integrity of the country.
The issue has striked old rivalries, followed by immediate protests over the inauguration of Darchula-Lipulekh pass Link Road on May 8th, sectioning across the disputed Kalapani area which is used by Indian pilgrims to Kailash Mansarovar. The territories that cordon off the trijunctions: Limpiyadhura, Kalapani, and Lipulekh are historically considered by Nepal to be its land.
Cause for territorial disputes and friendly slips between the neighbours?
As per AsiaTimes, Lipulekh Pass, situated at an altitude of 5,000 meters, has geo-strategic value as Tibet is on its northern side. It was an ancient route for traders and pilgrims transiting between Nepal and Tibet.
Oli’s cynicism also took a jibe on India’s subscription to the physical dimension of the symbol-Ashoka’s Lion capital-” simhamev jayate “or” satyamev jayate. Oli said Nepal believed in “satyamev jayate” and that in this endeavor the nation would prevail.
Historical Briefing and territorial evidence:
‘The Treaty of Sugauli signed after the Anglo-Nepalese war did resolute the River Kali as Nepal’s western border and defined all territories to its east as those of Nepal. Based on historical facts, documents, tax receipts, cartographic evidence, census details, and hydrological conventions, Nepal has maintained throughout that the Limpiyadhura, Kalapani, and Lipulekh areas are Nepal’s sovereign territory.’ (citation fromAsiaTimes)
Nepal has firm evidence to show that Lipulekh, Kalapani, and Limpiyadhura have a place with it. The maps distributed by the then British Survey of India in 1827 and 1856 obviously show how these zones have been acknowledged as a component of Nepal. Limpiyadhura in the north-western corner of Nepal has been acknowledged as the birthplace of the Mahakali River according to Article 5 of the Sugauli Treaty of 1816.
After the Sino-Indian War of 1962, the Indian forces did not shanghai beyond these territories. Because of an asymmetric power relationship, Nepal could not force Indian troops or act ultra vires to withdraw from these areas.
India’s strategic stance on Kalapani encroachment:
India needs to oversee Chinese developments on the fringe, and Kalapani is by all accounts deliberately the best point to do as such. India had assembled checkpoints at 17 places inside A Nepali area during the 1950s, which were all evacuated during the 1970s aside from the one at Kalapani in the northwest. Its national mapping authority has been including Kalapani and territories south of Lipulekh Pass from that point forward. India has enlisted signed agreements with China by entailing Nepali territories like Lipulekh sans Nepal’s approval.
Over the years, both India and Nepal have maintained a rebus sic stantibus on the case. As of now, it has been stipulated that where there has been a fundamental change of circumstances, a party may withdraw from or terminate the treaty in question. India ought to perceive the way that Nepal has regarded the Sugauli Treaty despite the fact that it was marked with the now-ancient East Indian Company. The arrangement marked between the two nations ought to be regarded, and the arrangements ought to be followed.
Declaration of Diplomatic Solutions by PM Oli:
Oli presupposed an elucidation to the advancing tension, stating that Nepal can permit India to use the link road to the Lipulekh Pass as part of an agreement, but will refrain from the capitulation of the Kalapani territory in which India has been carrying out established or as Nepal’s PM would call it, ‘encroachment’.