A newly constructed road connecting the Lipulekh pass with Dharchula in Uttarakhand lies completely within the territory of India, the Ministry of External Affairs said on Saturday (May 9) rejecting objections to it by Nepal.
The 80-km-long strategically crucial road at a height of 17,000 feet along the border with China in Uttarakhand was thrown open by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday (May 7).
Nepal on Saturday (May 9) raised objection to inauguration of the road, saying the “unilateral act” was against the understanding reached between the two countries on resolving the border issues.
“The recently inaugurated road section in Pithoragarh district in the state of Uttarakhand lies completely within the territory of India. The road follows the pre-existing route used by the pilgrims of the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra,” MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said.
He was replying to questions on sharp reaction by Nepal on the issue.
“Under the present project, the same road has been made pliable for the ease and convenience of pilgrims, locals and traders. India and Nepal have established mechanism to deal with all boundary matters,” Srivastava said.
He said the boundary delineation exercise with Nepal is going on and India is committed to resolve outstanding issues with the neighbouring country through diplomatic dialogue and in the spirit of close and friendly ties.
Raising objection on the construction of the link road, Nepal’s Foreign Ministry said, “This unilateral act runs against the understanding reached between the two countries including at the level of the prime ministers that a solution to boundary issues would be sought through negotiation.”
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.
Srivastava said both India and Nepal are in the process of scheduling foreign secretary-level talks which will be held once the dates are finalised after the two governments successfully deal with the COVID-19 crisis.
The new road is expected to help pilgrims visiting Kailash Mansarovar in Tibet as it is around 90 km from the Lipulekh pass. The road originates at Ghatiabagarh and ends at Lipulekh Pass, the gateway to Kailash-Mansarovar.