Nepal’s parliament is voting on a constitutional amendment bill in a move to update the country’s map, which includes a stretch of land high in the mountains that India claims as its own.
The House of Representatives opened the discussion on the amendment bill, which was put for voting after the deliberations were over.
Last month, Nepal’s ruling party had cleared the map, drawing fierce reaction from India, which described the move as “unilateral” and not based on historical facts.
The opposition Nepali Congress had said it would vote in favour of the amendment, amid friction with India over the issue.
The new map – made public last month – shows a sliver of land on the east of river Kali, jutting out from the northwestern tip of Nepal. The area includes the Lipulekh Pass in Uttarakhand and also Limpiyadhura and Kalapani, which are highly strategic areas which India has been guarding since the 1962 war with China.
New Delhi maintains that these are part of Uttarakhand.
“Such artificial enlargement of territorial claims will not be accepted by India,” Anurag Srivastava, spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry, had said last month. “Nepal is well aware of India’s consistent position on this matter and we urge the Government of Nepal to refrain from such unjustified cartographic assertion and respect India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” he had added.
Army Chief General MM Naravane today said that India has a very strong relationship with Nepal. “We have a very strong relationship with Nepal. We have geographical, cultural, historical, religious linkages. We have very strong people to people connect. Our relation with them has always been strong and will remain strong in the future,” General Naravane was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
A two-thirds majority of the 275-member Lower House in Nepal is required to pass the bill. Once the bill is passed by the Lower House, it will be sent to the National Assembly where it will undergo a similar process. The National Assembly will have to give lawmakers 72 hours to move amendments against the bill’s provisions, if any. After the National Assembly passes the bill, it will be submitted to the President for authentication, after which the bill will be incorporated in the Constitution.
(With inputs from PTI and ANI)