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Nepal tables Bill to alter map amid row



India June 01(IM): The Nepal Government on Sunday tabled a Constitution amendment Bill in parliament aimed at altering the country’s map amid a border dispute with India.

Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Shivamaya Tumbahangphe, on behalf of the Government of Nepal, tabled the Bill, a day after main opposition party Nepali Congress also backed the legislation. It will be the second amendment to the Constitution.

Nepal recently released the revised political and administrative map of the country laying claim over the strategically key areas of Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura.

India reacted angrily to the move saying such “artificial enlargement” of territorial claims would not be acceptable and asked the neighbouring country to refrain from such “unjustified cartographic assertion”. The Bill seeks to amend the political map of Nepal included in Schedule 3 of the Constitution. After endorsement by both Houses of parliament, the President will order issuance of the Bill. The central committee of the Nepali Congress on Saturday decided to back the Bill.

Last week, the proposed Bill was removed from the business schedule of parliament at the last minute at the request of Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli.

The discussion on the Constitution amendment Bill was delayed as the Nepali Congress asked for more time to discuss the matter.

The ties between India and Nepal came under strain after Defence Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated an 80-km-long strategically crucial road connecting the Lipulekh pass with Dharchula in Uttarakhand on May 8.

Nepal reacted sharply to the inauguration of the road claiming that it passed through Nepalese territory. India rejected the claim, asserting that the road lay completely within its territory.

Border row escalates

Nepal recently released a map laying claim over key areas of Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura. It tabled the constitutional amendment Bill to validate the new map

India reacted angrily to the move saying such “artificial enlargement” of territorial claims were unacceptable. It asked the neighbouring country to refrain from such “unjustified cartographic assertion”

MEA WITHHOLDS COMMENT

NEW DELHI: The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) did not comment on the latest development in Nepal’s bid to include three areas in a revised map. An Indian road runs through these areas on way to the border with China. Earlier on May 21, an MEA spokesperson had termed the move as “unilateral and not based on historical facts”.

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