NEW DELHI: The Nepal Parliament, in a special session on Saturday, voted in favour of a constitutional amendment Bill to include territories of Lipulekh, Limpiyadhura and Kalapani in Uttarakhand in its new political map and emblem.
The Bill, introduced by Nepal Prime KP Sharma Oli on Wednesday in the House of Representatives, or the Lower House of Nepal’s Parliament, was cleared with a two-thirds majority after all 258 votes went in favour of the amendment.
The overwhelming majority was achieved after the main opposition party, the Nepali Congress, decided to back the amendment.
The strength of the House of Representatives is 275. India described the development as untenable and “violative of our current understanding to hold talks on outstanding boundary issues.”
The Ministry of External Affairs said: “We have noted that the House of Representatives of Nepal has passed a constitution amendment bill for changing the map of Nepal to include parts of Indian territory. We have already made our position clear on this matter.
"This artificial enlargement of claims is not based on historical fact or evidence and is not tenable. It is also violative of our current understanding to hold talks on outstanding boundary issues.”
The Bill will now be sent to the National Assembly or the Upper House, which will be given another 72 hours to debate and clear.
Once cleared, it would be sent to the Nepali President for ratification and subsequently included in
“The House of Representatives unanimously adopted the Constitution Amendment Bill, paving the way for accommodating the updated political-administrative map in the national emblem,” Nepali Foreign Ministry Pradeep Gyawali tweeted with a picture of the new emblem showing the territories in the Himalayan nation’s new map.
The Bill’s introduction had evoked strong reactions from India. Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Anurag Srivastava had described the move unilateral and not based on historical facts.
“Such artificial enlargement of territorial claims will not be accepted by India. Nepal is well aware of India’s consistent position on this matter and we urge the Government of Nepal to refrain from such unjustified cartographic assertion and respect India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” he had said last month.
The border issue grabbed attention after Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on May 8 inaugurated a road in Lipulekh. While Nepal claims it as its own territory under the Treaty of Sugauli, India maintains that the territories are a part of Uttarakhand. A new map was then released a day later, which was endorsed by the
The formal clearance of the new map is likely to close any chances of Indo-Nepal talks on the border issue. The Nepali Congress had, while backing the amendment, insisted on foreign secretary level talks with India to resolve the issue.