Topics Covered: India and its neighbourhood- relations.
What to study?
For Prelims: Location of Kalapani.
For Mains: The dispute and ways to address them.
Context: Nepal and India are planning to resolve the Kalapani border issue through dialogue. India has clarified that the latest political map of India reflects the sovereign territory of India.
The issue was raised by Nepal after India published a new political map that showed the creation of two Union Territories in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh after revoking the special status of Kashmir on August 5. Ever since, diplomatic sources have maintained that both sides have made conciliatory statements which has so far fallen short of producing a solution to the Kalapani issue.
What’s the issue?
In the latest map, India included Kalapani into the Pithoragarh district of Uttarakhand.
Nepal government says that Kalapani is an integral part of the country and that talks are still on between New Delhi and Kathmandu over this “unresolved” area.
Foreign secretaries of both countries have been assigned the responsibility to resolve the remaining border-related issues between India and Nepal.
Where is it located?
Kalapani is located at an altitude of 3600m on the Kailash Manasarovar route.
It borders Uttarakhand in India and Sudurpashchim Pradesh in Nepal.
Since the Indo-China war of 1962, Kalapani is controlled by India’s Indo-Tibetan Border Police.
Nepal claims that the river located towards the west of the territory is the main Kali river and thus it falls in its territory, India claims a ridgeline towards the east of the Kalapani territory and hence, includes it in the Indian Union.
Genesis of the dispute:
Under the treaty of Sugauli signed between Nepal and the British East India Company in 1816, the Kali River was located as Nepal’s western boundary with India. It, however, made no mention of a ridgeline and subsequent maps of the areas drawn by British surveyors showed the source of the Kali river at different places.
This discrepancy has led to the boundary disputes between India and Nepal, with each country producing maps including the territory in their own area to support their claims. The exact size of the Kalapani territory also varies in different sources.
While the two countries have made a lot of headway in ties, sensitive issues such as border need to be handled carefully and New Delhi has to be mindful of Nepal’s concerns.
Sources: the Hindu.