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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 6/12/20

Nepal-India border tensions rise as one Indian killed by Nepal police firing

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One Indian farmer was killed and at least three more are injured Friday (June 12) in firing by Nepal police during an altercation with Indian farmers across the border at Sitamarhi district in Bihar, Hindustan Times reported.

The incident comes at a time of continued tension between the two south Asian neighbors over conflicting territorial claims.

Tellingly, Nepal police firing incident also comes at a time when India is involved in a border dispute with China, which has moved its army in Ladakh that was declared as an Indian Union territory in August last.

The Nepal police firing incident coincides with India's disagreement with Nepal's move to revise its map laying claim to territories of Limpiyadhura, Lipulekh and Kalapani, which fall in Uttarakhand state of India. Nepal's lower house has voted for a constitutional amendment to include these territories in its official map despite India's objections. Nepal's parliament is holding a special meeting tomorrow to complete the amendment process.

The border issue was first raised by Nepalese Prime Minister K. P. Sharma Oli after India formally opened the 80-km road to Lipulekh Pass for Kailash Mansarovar pilgrims in May last.

India has described Nepal's map move as a 'unilateral act' not based on historical facts or evidence and has asked Kathmandu to 'refrain' from bringing about an 'unjust' and 'artificial enlargement of territorial claims', according to Hindustan Times.

Following the map move, Nepal has increased troops' presence on the border with India, the paper added. The two countries share an open border of 1,880 kms and people travel across it for work and to visit family. Nepal had closed its international borders on March 22 as a containment measure against the COVID-19 pandemic.

India last month termed the Nepalese map as "artificial enlargement of (Nepalese) territorial claims (that) will not be accepted by India". New Delhi had also urged Kathmandu "to refrain from such unjustified cartographic assertion and respect India's sovereignty and territorial integrity". India had also said the Nepalese revised official map "includes parts of Indian territory" and that "this unilateral act is not based on historical facts and evidence", which "is contrary to the bilateral understanding to resolve the outstanding boundary issues through diplomatic dialogue".

Nepal claims that as per the Treaty of Sagauli, inked more than two centuries ago between British India and Nepal in 1816 after the Anglo-Nepal War, "all the territories east of Kali (Mahakali) River, including Limpiyadhura, Kalapani and Lipu Lekh, belong to Nepal".

All three areas are at present part of Indian territory and fall in Uttarakhand State.

The row between India and Nepal was triggered last month after Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated an 80-km-long, high-altitude road from Dharchula to the Lipulekh Pass that reduces the Kailash-Mansarovar pilgrimage time.

On Thursday (June 11), the Indian Ministry of External Affairs said: "We have already made our position clear on these issues. India deeply values its civilization, cultural and friendly relations with Nepal. Our multi-faceted bilateral partnership has expanded and diversified in the recent years with increased focus and enhanced Government of India's assistance on humanitarian, development and connectivity projects in Nepal."

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Author and journalist. Author of Islamic Pakistan: Illusions & Reality; Islam in the Post-Cold War Era; Islam & Modernism; Islam & Muslims in the Post-9/11 America. Currently working as free lance journalist. Executive Editor of American (more...)
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