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India-Nepal Border Dispute

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 assertion.

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.

There was 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 controversial Kalapani 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 1879.

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 Susta.

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.

Significant development
  • 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.

Critical Analysis
  • 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.

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