India Nepal border dispute has taken an awful turn recently, after the road
passing through Lipulekh pass was built by India. Lipulekh Pass is a primeval
pilgrimage passage used by Buddhists. After the Indo-China war, 1962 the path
was suspended by India. Notwithstanding, of late at the start of May 2020, India
revived the course for Kailash Mansarovar's journey in the wake of developing a
75 km road via the pass.
The road was built to reduce the time to reach Kailash
Mansarovar. This resulted in the initiation of public and diplomatic mutiny by
the Nepal Government by releasing a new political map which shows that Lipulekh,
Kalapani, and Limipiyadhura come under the Nepali domain. This move has been
emphatically criticized by India saying it to be an unjustified cartographic
The paramount cause behind the India-Nepal border disagreement is because of
Kalapani, accompanied by Lipulekh. Formerly in November 2019, the Home Ministry
of India launched a current version of the Indian political map, indicating
Jammu and Kashmir alongside Ladakh as the current union territories of India.
This occasion was followed by the episode of August 2019, when the Articles 35A
and 370 of the Constitution of India were annulled by the Indian government
which provided the State of Jammu and Kashmir an extraordinary status.
a requirement of the prompt arrival of the new map after the state was
bifurcated by the legislature. The map which was released demonstrated the
domain in the Greater Himalayas being the part of
Indian borders. It was depicted in the map that the territory is a part of the Pithoragarh region in the province of Uttarakhand.
The new version of the Indian
map was immediately objected by Nepal stating that the area portrayed in the map
is an unsettled domain of the Darchula region in Nepal's Sudurpaschim territory.
Background History of the dispute
The long-running territorial dispute over the Kalapani region owes its origins
to the colonial history of India. The Sugauli Treaty established during the
Anglo-Nepal War (1814-16) resulted in the demarcation of Nepal's boundaries,
with the relinquishment of Sikkim and Kumaon Garhwal.
According to the treaty,
River kali is the western boundary of Nepal with India, all areas east of which
belongs to Nepal and the Kumaon region on the other side were of British India.
The dispute arises due to the uncertainty in the origin of the Kali river. The
map produced by the British in 1820 showed Kuti Yangti, from Limpiyadhura as the
origin. In 1860, when the map was published by the East India Company, Lipu Gad
was shown as the origin of the Kali river which was again changed to Pankha Gad
In July 1950, India and Nepal signed the Treaty of Peace and Friendship, under
which the two governments agreed to respect each other's sovereignty and
independence, encourage a well-identified and formally accepted open border
between them, and also to consult mutually on matters related to security. The
movement of people from both the side on the "reciprocal basis" was mentioned in
Article VII of the Treaty.
India had conveyed security powers in the territory during the Indo-China war,
1962. Kalapani was viewed as a protected zone for Indian soldiers to be
positioned, as its high elevation of 20, 276 feet was a successful safeguard
against the Chinese. However, in 1959, Nepal had performed elections in that
region and gathered land income from its occupants, until 1961. Issues emerged
in 1989 when India singularly shut 22 borders crossing spots and 15 travel spots
for Nepal. This barricade was a hit to an Indo-Nepal bilateral relationship.
Inevitably, two sites were opened up: the Jogbani-Biratnagar and Raxaul-Birganj.
The issue of the origin of the Kali river was first raised in 1997, after
the Treaty of Mahakali-Kali river, 1996. The matter was assigned to the Joint
Technical Level Boundary Committee that was set up in 1981, to re-identify and
replace the old and damaged boundary pillars along the India-Nepal border. The
Committee clarified 97% of the boundary, leaving 3% as it was beyond their
capacity to resolve. The unresolved issue involved Kalapani, Limpiyadhura, and
Lipulekh has been an irritating point with Nepal even before the maps were
discharged. In 2015, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited China, the two
nations consented to an arrangement to utilize Lipulekh Pass as a two-sided
exchange course and signed the Lipulekh agreement, and Nepal was offended that
neither one of the sides had counseled it.
- In the year 1990, due to the expiry of trade and transit treaties, the
domestic milieu in both countries were undergoing change. To improve
relations, India adopted a liberal approach and announced economic
concessions to Nepal. India agreed to provide Nepal Kandala and Mumbai port facility apart from the
Kolkata port facility. India also agreed to provide assistance in the
construction of rail, road, and bridge.
- Gujral Doctrine was adopted to acknowledge the regional component in
the policy of globalization. An alternative trade route was provided to Nepal so
that they can diversify its trade links overseas.
- India helped Nepalese army to deal with rising Maoists which was posing
serious threat to Nepal's internal security.
- With Madhesi crisis, the relation between India and Nepal got
strained. Nepal signed the Belt and Road Initiative in 2017 agreeing to work on
the construction of road tunnel along the road from Jilong to Kathmandu.
- Economic Issues: The primary issue dominating Indo-Nepal economic
relations is the Balance of Trade favors India. 95% of Nepal's trade is led
through the Calcutta port, about 40% of the employment created in Nepal is
through India Speculations and India remains a significant financial
investor in Nepal.
- Environmental Issues: In spite of the fact that the Mahakali Treaty is
a significant milestone between the two nations, nothing huge has been
accomplished after the marking of the settlement. The standards encompassing the
bargain itself have gotten questionable in Nepal as the ideological groups
inside Nepal are censuring India.
- Deployment of security forces: The deployment of armed police officers
has altered the profile of border security. There is an increased presence
of paramilitary forces maintaining a stricter vigil in the border region.
The once completely open border is steadily acquiring the image of a firmly
managed border, with security officers undertaking irregular checks.
- Development of Infrastructure: The infrastructure of check-posts are on
the verge of total collapse. The progress in building border infrastructure,
that is, roads and rail tracks have been tardy.
The intricacy fundamental India-Nepal relations can't be tackled by talk or
one-sided map-production works out. Such peril only nurture doubt and dissolves
the altruism at the individuals to-individuals level. Political development is
expected to discover inventive arrangements that can be commonly satisfactory.
The pressing need today is to delay the talk on regional patriotism and lay the
basis for a tranquil exchange where the two sides need to show affectability as
they investigate the details of a reset of the exceptional relationship. A
typical relationship where India can be a liberal accomplice will be a superior
establishment for "neighborhood first" in the 21st century.