NEW DELHI: Nepal has reportedly sought foreign secretary-level talks with India via video conferencing. However, it seems unlikely that India will agree at this stage when the Himalayan nation is all set to pass the Second Constitution Amendment Bill next week, which will give it a legal backing to the updated map that claims parts of the Indian territory.
Nepal watchers here in New Delhi believe India has always offered talks but this depends on reasonableness- if Nepal unilaterally prejudges the situation then it is willfully complicating the prospects of any settlements through talks.
Nepal has fast-tracked the process of bringing the constitution amendment. It is learned that KP Sharma Oli's government has secured the support of opposition Nepali Congress and is likely to pass the amendment with the desired two-third majority on June 9. Even if Madhesi parties oppose the move, numbers are stacked in favour of the amendment.
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Tension has been mounting between India and Nepal after New Delhi inaugurated a road linking Kailash Mansarovar via Lipulekh on May 8 after which Nepal handed over a diplomatic note to India objecting to the move.
Diplomatic ties between the two nations frayed further after the issuance of a new updated map by Nepal on May 20.
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The controversial updated map includes Indian areas of Kalapani, Lipulekh and Limpiyadhura in its territory. New Delhi has said that the updated map is "not based on historical facts and evidence"
New Delhi urged Kathmandu to refrain from such an "unjustified cartographic assertion" and respect India's sovereignty and territorial integrity.
India had earlier said it attaches great importance to deep-rooted historical, cultural and friendly relations with Nepal.
New Delhi also said that it is open to engaging with all its neighbours on the basis of mutual sensitivity and mutual respect in an environment of trust and confidence. This is a continuous process and it requires constructive and positive efforts. Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) also expressed hope that Nepali leadership creates a positive environment for talks on a matter related to the border.
India and Nepal share a 1,800km (1,118-mile) open border.