KATHMANDU: Nepal's former prime minister and main opposition CPN-UML Chairman K P Sharma Oli on Friday pledged to "take back" the territories of Kalapani, Limpiyadhura and Lipulekh from India through dialogue if his party comes back to power.
The Lipulekh pass is a far western point near Kalapani, a disputed border area between Nepal and India.
Both India and Nepal claim Kalapani as an integral part of their territory -- India as part of Uttarakhand's Pithoragarh district and Nepal as part of Dharchula district.
Inaugurating the 10th general convention of the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist) in Chitwan, 160 km south of Kathmandu, Oli claimed if his party comes back to power it will "take back the disputed territories such as Limpiyadhura, Kalapani and Lipulek from India through dialogue".
"We are for resolving problems through dialogue and not for enmity with neighbours," he added.
Oli exuded confidence that the CPN-UML would emerge as the largest political force in the general election slated for next year.
The bilateral ties came under strain under then Prime Minister Oli after India opened an 80-km-long strategically crucial road connecting the Lipulekh pass with Dharchula in Uttarakhand on May 8, 2020.
Nepal protested the inauguration of the road claiming that it passed through its territory.
Days later, Nepal came out with a new map showing Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura as its territories.
India reacted sharply to the move.
In June last year, Nepal's Parliament approved the new political map of the country featuring areas which India maintains belong to it.
After Nepal released the map, India reacted sharply, calling it a "unilateral act" and cautioning Kathmandu that such "artificial enlargement" of territorial claims will not be acceptable to it.
In his address, Oli said his party is "committed to safeguard Nepal's independence and sovereignty and that it is for conducting international relations on the basis of mutual interest and benefit".
Meanwhile, addressing the inauguration programme as special guest, Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba urged all political parties to come together and join hands for the development of the country.
"We all were one to draft the Constitution, now it is time for us all to move forward for the development of the country," he said, wishing the convention a success.
"Rule of law, safeguarding of democracy, national sovereignty and prosperity of the country constitute the goal of all parties, and it should be so," Deuba asserted.
Besides leaders from major political parties of Nepal, representatives of parties from various countries including, Bangladesh, India, Cambodia and Sri Lanka, also attended the event.
BJP leader and former minister Harsh Vardhan was among the foreign delegates who took part in the inauguration of the general convention.