Nepal’s map Bill gets full support in upper House

New map claims the disputed territory of Limpiyadhura-Kalapani-Lipulekh

The upper House of Nepal Parliament on Thursday passed the Second Constitution Amendment Bill 2077 (Vikram era), with all 59 members voting in favour of the new map that claims the disputed territory of Limpiyadhura-Kalapani-Lipulekh.

The voting completed the legislative move that grants constitutional status to the map, which was unveiled after the Kalapani territorial dispute intensified in May.

Nepal Communist Party’s Deputy Chief of Foreign Affairs Bishnu Rijal said the Bill would now be forwarded to President Bidhya Devi Bhandari for her signature, following which the amendment would become part of the Constitution.

Political map of Nepal released by the country on May 20, 2020.

The process of passing the Bill, which was cleared unanimously by lower House Pratinidhi Sabha was fast-tracked. The completion of the legislative process means the new map will be part of the national emblem of Nepal. The Parliament secretariat had started using the revised map in all its official letterheads and posters.

The formal inclusion of the map in the Constitution gives a rare kind of guarantee to the physical territory of the Nepalese state that makes future negotiation on the Kalapani issue difficult. However, Nepal has maintained that it remains open for dialogue.

Spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs Anurag Srivastava had said the amendment amounts to “artificial enlargement of claims that are not based on historical fact or evidence and is not tenable”.

The ties between the two countries 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 protested the inauguration of the road claiming that it passed through its territory. Days later, Nepal came out with the new map showing Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura as its territories.

With inputs from The Hindu