Lipulekh dispute: Nepal’s new map includes parts of Indian territory

Nepal’s Cabinet has endorsed a new political map showing Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura under its territory, amid a border dispute with India.India inaugurated a road that crosses through Lipu Lekh Pass, part of an area both countries claim as their own.  India possesses the territory; it sees it strategically important; and it will continue to expand infrastructure. Opening up of Lipulekh pass for Kailash Mansarovar has led Nepal lodge protest with India claiming Kalapani area in Pithoragarh district of Uttarakhand as its own territory. The new route passes through Kalapani,


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.

Nepal shares a border of over 1850 km with five Indian states – Sikkim, West Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. The India-Nepal Treaty of Peace and Friendship of 1950 forms the bedrock of the special relations that exist between India and Nepal. Nepalese citizens avail facilities and opportunities on par with Indian citizens in accordance with the provisions of the Treaty. Nearly 6 million Nepalese citizens live and work in India.

   Lipulekh sits atop the Kalapani Valley and forms a tri-junction between India, Nepal and China. During British era, the two armies clashed in a war that ended with the Treaty of Sugauli in 1816. Among other things, it demarcated Kumaon in Uttarkhand from Nepal with River Kali serving as the boundary line between India and Nepal. India, and earlier Britain, considers its origin in the source of northeastern — Kalapani – streams, while Nepal says the river originates in the southwestern — Kuthi Yankti — streams. A much-cited Almora Gazetteer of 1911 favours the northeastern origin. This is in sync with the British decision taken upon a representation made by Nepal in 1817. Nepal says it has historical documents and tax receipts to show that people inhabiting that area belonged to the country. India, on the other hand, rejects the claim citing Mughal history and British control over the area. After the British left India, it maintained a police post in Kalapani since mid-1950’s. From 1979-80, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) has been manning the boundaries.

In fact, India and China, in 2015, agreed to have trade across the pass, an acknowledgement by Beijing of India’s control over the area.


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