NEW DELHI: Army Chief General MM Naravane on Friday said that Lipulekh Pass is not a dispute and Nepal has raised the matter at the behest of someone else.
“There is reason to believe that they might have raised this issue at the behest of someone else and that is very much possibility,” he said.
The Kalapani region is a junction of three countries - India, Nepal, and China. Nepal and India both claim this region as part of their respective territories.
India and Nepal share 1751 km of boundary between them.
Elaborating on the question of the issues raised by Nepal, the Army Chief said, “As far as the road to Lipulekh Pass is concerned, I do not see any contradiction in that at all. In fact, the Nepalese ambassador had mentioned that East of Kalinadi belongs to them and there is no dispute in that. The road which we have constructed is on the west side of the river. So I don’t know what exactly they are agitating about. As we go ahead there are little issues as to where the trijunction should be. There have never been any problems on this score in the past.”
General Naravane was replying to a question after delivering an online talk on 'COVID and Indian Army: Responses and Beyond' in the presence of scholars, academics, and journalists.
Nepal raised the issue after India built a road till Lipulekh Pass and claimed the area to be disputed. But experts and strategists find it not just a recent phenomenon from Nepal but also feel it has Chinese push for the sake of long term strategic military gain.
India inherited the borders from British post-1947 and since then Kali River became the border with Nepal boundary being the East of Kali and west being the Indian border. Also, there have been only two mutually accepted points that remained to be resolved between India and Nepal namely Kalapani (Uttarakhand) and Susta (Bihar).
Dr. Nihar R. Nayak, an expert on Nepal matters, says, Army Chief is factually correct. "Initially, Nepal mentioned two places, Kalapani and Susta, as disputed. Now, they have recently increased it to four by adding Lipulekh and Lympiadhura."
The number of disputed territories is increased every year by Nepal should be resolved amicably through diplomatic means referring historical documents.” said Dr. Nayak, who is Research Fellow with MP-IDSA India’s premier think tank in Delhi.
India and Nepal share 1751 km of the boundary between them. All of a sudden in 2015 Lipulekh was introduced from the Nepal side when Prime Minister Narendra Modi was working to revive trade with China and Lympiadhura was introduce in November 2019.
Nepal divides borders with China into the eastern part and western portion and during the 1962 war the Chinese had their major gains on the eastern flank but could not get that much of success in West because of such important locations like the Kalapani.
A strategic thinker said, “India had domination in Kalapani area that oversees Burang county in China which has their Taklakot Army position. The push from China is to shift the Indian positions back as Kalapani is a major challenge.”