See More on Facebook

Diplomacy

Nepal government comments on controversial Indian map but takes no firm position

In a press statement, the Foreign Ministry refers to media reports and commentary before asserting that the matter would be resolved diplomatically.


Written by

Updated: November 7, 2019

The KP Sharma Oli administration on Wednesday said that its attention had been drawn to news and commentary regarding the placement of Kalapani on a new political map released by India.

Refraining from commenting directly on India’s new map, the statement, released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, says, “The Nepal government is clear about Kalapani being part of Nepal’s territory.”

The Post first reported on Monday that the new political map—released after India formally split up the disputed Jammu and Kashmir state into two federal territories—has placed the territory of Kalapani within its borders.

The Foreign Ministry statement on Wednesday came after a briefing by a Survey Department team led by its Director-General Prakash Joshi to secretaries from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Home Affairs, and Ministry of Land Reform and Management.

At least two officials familiar with developments told the Post that it was surprising that the Foreign Ministry had issued a statement specifically mentioning media reports, despite being briefed on the matter by the Survey Department.

“Government secretaries were clearly briefed that some parts of Nepali land, including Kalapani, have been placed inside Indian borders in India’s new political map,” an official told the Post on condition of anonymity, citing the sensitivity of the matter.

“During the meeting, all three secretaries were convinced of the gravity and sensitivity of the issue and decided to immediately raise it with India through diplomatic channels,” said the other official. “The Foreign Ministry cannot issue a statement based on media reports because it has already been briefed by the concerned officials.”

The Survey Department had informed the government secretaries that the time had come to bring up the Kalapani issue with India via political and diplomatic channels.

“India has maintained its own ‘status quo’ while carving its boundary with Nepal. It’s time to address it,” an official familiar with the briefing said, describing the conversation between Survey Department officials and the government secretaries.

The third meeting of Nepal-India Joint Commission at the foreign minister-level in 2014 agreed to form a joint panel at the foreign secretary-level to resolve boundary disputes in Susta and Kalapani between Nepal and India, but no progress was reported at the last joint commission meeting held in Kathmandu in August.

Durga Prasad Bhattarai, a former foreign secretary, said that Nepal should invest more during times of calm to resolve the boundary crisis rather than becoming confused when a crisis appears.

“In peacetime, we have to take up the issue with whom we have disputes. If anything cannot be sorted out, we should clearly say that this issue remains unsettled. In certain cases, we can hold back because boundary disputes happen all over the world and they may not settle within a designated time. But we have to put the things forward in a transparent manner,” said Bhattarai.

Others pointed out that the statement is littered with errors. The statement, which is in Nepali, does not even have the name and designation of the undersigned, while the signature itself is unclear. As of press time, the statement had not been released in English, despite it concerning an international border issue.

The statement also makes no reference to Nepal’s claim over Limpiyadhura and Lipu Lekh, both areas which, in addition to Kalapani, have also been claimed as part of Nepali territory but are placed within Indian borders in the new map.

Pradhumna Shah, a former ambassador, said that it was not wise to release a press statement after something so critical appears in the media.

“In the past, the ministry has issued several statements repeatedly, correcting one after another. Whether it is SAARC or Venezuela or the Indo-Pacific Strategy, the Foreign Ministry has issued multiple statements after reactions and comments in the media,” said Shah. “The ministry should be consistent and it needs to respond before there is noise in the media.”

Shah, who served at the Foreign Ministry for a long time, said that if any crucial issue surfaces, the foreign minister or foreign secretary can immediately call upon their counterparts to voice their concern.

“It does India no good to maintain a boundary dispute with Nepal for such a long time as it only props up anti-Indian sentiment,” said Shah. “Nepal, on the other hand, should be proactive to settle the dispute because it is an important and sensitive issue for us.”

The Foreign Ministry, in its statement, has said that outstanding border-related issues between the two countries should be resolved mutually and that the Nepal government won’t accept any unilateral decisions.

“The Nepal government is committed to defending its international borders and is firm on its position that border problems between the two neighbouring countries should be resolved diplomatically, based on historical documents and concrete evidence,” says the statement. “Foreign secretaries of the two countries have been mandated to resolve border-related issues.”

Rajan Bhattarai, foreign relations advisor to Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, told the Post that shortcomings from the government’s side in its immediate response could be because the concerned offices and officials did not have an “authenticated map”.

“If concerned officials have received the maps, they should be verified technically before making a position. Once officials find out the differences between the old and new maps, we have to raise the issue with India,” said Bhattarai. “It is our clear position that unilateral actions taken by anyone cannot be accepted.”

According to Bhattarai, Nepal’s diplomatic apparatus will take up the issue with India once the new map has been examined thoroughly. The map was uploaded on the official website of the Indian government’s Ministry of Home Affairs.

 



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


The Kathmandu Post
About the Author: The Kathmandu Post was Nepal’s first privately owned English broadsheet daily and is currently the country's leading English-language newspaper.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Diplomacy

China opposes passage of HK bill by US Senate

The bill criticizes the response to protesters in Hong Kong. China firmly opposes the passage of a Hong Kong-related bill by the United States Senate, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson said Wednesday, urging the US side to stop pushing the bill to become law and stop interfering in China’s domestic affairs. Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang made the remarks in an online statement after the US Senate passed the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act on Tuesday. Noting the act ignores facts and truth, applies double standards and blatantly interferes in Hong Kong affairs and China’s internal affairs, Geng said it is in serious violation of international law and basic norms governing international relations. China condemns and firmly opposes it, he said, adding that the country will take strong countermeasures to defend national sovereignty, security and development interests if the


By China Daily
November 21, 2019

Diplomacy

Trade disputes between Korea and Japan show no sign of abating

President Moon Jae-in blames Japan’s export controls for GSOMIA withdrawal. Escalating trade tension between South Korea and Japan shows no sign of abating as two rounds of bilateral talks to resolve disputes triggered by Japan’s export curbs could not reach common ground. On Tuesday, the two neighboring nations held the second round of talks at the World Trade Organization in Geneva after failing to reach a consensus at the first consultations on Oct. 11. “During two rounds of six-hour intensive consultations, the two nations became more aware of each other’s measures and positions in the process. But we don’t think the two sides have changed their positions,” Chung Hae-kwan, director general in charge of legal affairs at the Trade Ministry, told reporters at a press briefing in Geneva following a meeting with his Japanese counterparts on Tuesday. “We pointed out that Japan’s exp


By The Korea Herald
November 21, 2019

Diplomacy

PM Imran welcomes release of 2 hostages by Taliban in Afghanistan

Pakistan has stakes in any high level talks between the Taliban and the United States. The Taliban insurgents released two Western hostages — Kevin King from the United States and Timothy Weeks from Australia — on Tuesday in a prisoner exchange deal with the Afghan government, two Afghan officials said. “This morning at around 10am two American University professors were released in Nawbahar district of Zabul province. They were flown out of Zabul by American helicopters,” a local police source said. “The two professors are safely freed and are being taken care of now,” one of the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters. The American and Australian were exchanged with three Taliban leaders, including key militant figure Anas Haqqani, added Reuters. Three Taliban sources in the province also confirmed the release. There was, h


By Dawn
November 20, 2019

Diplomacy

Beijing’s comments on HK court decision could signal direct intervention

Beijing has rejected a Hong Kong court decision. China has firmly rejected the Hong Kong High Court’s decision to overturn a controversial mask ban aimed at quelling violent protests, prompting experts to say the central government could soon act to ensure its constitutional authority over Hong Kong is not challenged. China’s Parliament and Cabinet both issued statements early on Tuesday (Nov 19) morning that the ruling challenged the authority of both the Hong Kong authorities and the central government. The response came a day after the city’s High Court ruled that th


By The Straits Times
November 20, 2019

Diplomacy

Pakistan successfully conducts training launch of surface-to-surface ballistic missile

The missile is called the Shaheen-I. Pakistan on Monday conducted a successful training launch of surface-to-surface ballistic missile (SSBM) Shaheen-I, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said. According to a press release issued by the ISPR, the launch was conducted as part of a training exercise “aimed at testing the operational readiness of Army Strategic Forces Command”. The director general Strategic Plans Division, commander Army Strategic Forces Command, NESCOM chairman, senior officers from the Strategic Plans Division, Army Strategic Forces Command, scientists and engineers witnessed the training launch. “Troops displayed a high standard of proficiency in handling and operating the potent weapon system, ensuring Pakistan’s credible minimum deterrence,” ISPR stated. As per the military’s media wing, the Shaheen-I SSBM is capable of delivering al


By Dawn
November 19, 2019

Diplomacy

N. Korea rejects nuclear talks before US withdraws hostile policy

The US and South Korea have suspended a joint air drill to appease Pyongyang. North Korea said Tuesday it has no interest in denuclearization negotiations with the United States unless Washington drops its “hostile” policy. Kim Yong-chol, who formerly led the negotiations as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s counterpart, issued the statement in response to Sunday’s decision by South Korea and the US to postpone military exercises in support of diplomatic efforts to denuclearize the North. “What we are demanding from the US is that it withdraw from combined military exercises with South Korea or completely stop the exercises,” Kim, a vice chairman of the ruling Workers’ Party’s Central Committee, said in the statement carried by the North’s Korean Central News Agency. “Postponing the combined military exercises does not guarantee peace


By Cod Satrusayang
November 19, 2019