India, Pakistan Nepal, South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, mediator, SAARC summit
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Amid border dispute, Nepal govt to clear new map which includes Indian territory

The Nepal government on Sunday (May 31) tabled a Constitution Amendment bill in parliament, which aimed at changing the country’s map amid the border dispute with India. Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Shivamaya Tumbahangphe, on behalf of the Nepal government, tabled the bill. This comes one day after the opposition Nepali Congress also supported the same legislation.

In Nepal, it normally takes one month to pass a specific constitution amendment bill. However this time, considering people’s sentiments, the Nepali parliament is likely to bypass many procedures to get the bill passed in the next ten days. The opposition party’s assurance means that the bill – which requires a two-third majority, will get passed. Earlier this month, the ruling party in Nepal had cleared the map, which drew a fierce reaction from India. The move was described as ‘unilateral’ and not based on true historical facts.

According to sources, the Nepali Congress, which is the main opposition party, has decided to vote in favor of the Constitution amendment bill entailing a new political map of Nepal, put forth by the government in the Parliament. The important decision was taken during a meeting of the Central Working Committee (CWC) at the party’s headquarters in Sanepa (Nepal).

RELATED NEWS: Explained: Controversy over Nepal’s new map

The new map by Nepal, which was made public earlier this month, shows a sliver of the land on the east of river Kali, extending beyond the northwestern tip of Nepal. The area also includes the Lipulekh Pass in Uttarakhand (India) and also the Limpiyadhura and Kalapani, which are highly strategic areas. India has been guarding these areas since the 1962 war with China.

The controversy over Nepal’s map erupted as India opened a new road on May 8, which connects the Lipulekh pass with Kailash Mansarovar route in China. Nepal protested against the move, saying that it wanted to put up a security post in the area. However, the Centre clarified that the road lies completely within the Indian territory, and follows the route used by devotees and pilgrims.

(With inputs from agencies)

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