DMPQ- Discuss the recent India-Nepal border dispute.

On May 8, India’s defence minister virtually inaugurated a new 80 km-long road in the Himalayas, connecting to the border with China, at the Lipulekh pass. The Nepali government protested immediately, contending that the road crosses territory that it claims and accusing India of changing the status quo without diplomatic consultations.

Lipulekh and Kalapani are major regions in India, and the Susta region in Nepal is covered in the border dispute between India and Nepal. The territorial dispute between India and Nepal includes an area of 400 km2 at the India-Nepal-China tri-junction region. The Kalapani territory is a region under Indian administration as a sector of Pithoragarh district in the Uttarakhand state, but has also been claimed by Nepal since 1998. However, the Nepal government claims that Kalapani province lies in Darchula district, Sudurpaschim Pradesh. Kalapani has been controlled by India’s Indo-Tibetan border security forces since 1962. But Nepal demands the withdrawal of the Indian border forces in Kalapani area because they are claiming that Kalapani belongs to them.

Lipulekh is a Himalayan pass situated on the border between Uttarakhand state of India and the Tibetan autonomous region of China, near their trijunction with Nepal. Nepal affirms that the southern side of the Lipulekh pass, called Kalapani territory (which is controlled by India), belongs to Nepal. The pass is near the Chinese trading town of and it has been used since ancient times by traders, mendicants and pilgrims traveling between India and China. Lipulekh pass is also used by pilgrims to reach Kailas and Manasarovar.

India-Nepal border issues appear to be easily solvable, as long as there is political goodwill and statecraft being exercised on both sides. The way to move forward is to formally approve the strip maps, resolve the two remaining disputes, demarcate the entire India-Nepal boundary, and speedily execute the work of boundary maintenance.

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