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Indian Officials Say Larger Debate Is On, Nepal Govt Defers Bill On New Map

Nepal government failed to table the scheduled Bill in parliament owing to differences within the ruling party and more time sought by the main opposition

 

 

MUMBAI| The Nepal government’s move to bring in a constitution amendment bill to give legal sanctity to its new map following a territorial spat with India has been deferred for the time being.

On Wednesday, the Nepal government of Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli failed to table the scheduled Bill in Nepal’s parliament owing to differences within the ruling party and more time being sought by the main opposition.

The Indian government said South Block is “carefully following” the developments in Nepal where a “larger debate” is underway.

Close sources revealed, “Border issues are sensitive by nature and require trust and confidence to be resolved to mutual satisfaction. We note that there is a larger ongoing debate on this matter in Nepal. It underlines the seriousness of this issue. It also demonstrates the value being attached to relations between Nepal and India.”
India’s new road from Dharachula to Lipulekh as part of the Mansarovar Yatra route angered the Oli government which came out with a new map adding to it an area of 370 sq km at the tri-junction of Nepal, India and China (Tibet) that India claims is its territory.

 

A constitution amendment Bill was negotiated to legitimize the alteration or addition of Kalapani, Lipulekh and Limpiyandhura to the new map when it promulgated its constitution on September 20. 2015. Nepal said the country’s area and size would be as shown in the map published on the day.

A constitution amendment requires a two-thirds majority vote. The government is short of nine parliamentarians in the 275 member House of Representatives.

A section of the ruling coalition led by former Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’, co-chairman of the ruling party, is said to have advised Prime Minister Oli to go slow on the issue.

The main opposition Nepali Congress, which has 63 members in the House of Representatives, has sought more time to enable the “party central committee” to take a considered stand on the territorial issue.┬áParty spokesman Bishwa Mohan Sharma, however, said it was committed to supporting the government on the territorial issue.

Two Terai-centered parties, Samajbadi Janata Party and Rashtriya Janata Party, have been negotiating with the government to have their demands, including a more liberal approach on citizenship, adopted along with the constitution amendment Bill. Kathmandu’s move to come out with a new map has to disquiet in Delhi.

 

 

 

 

 

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