Nepal has put its new map showing the Indian territories of Kalapani, Lipulekh and Limpiyadhura on hold, after a constitutional amendment pushed by Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli failed to garner enough support among the country's major political players. According to multiple media reports which have cited sources in Delhi and Kathmandu, Oli's proposal to alter the long-standing status quo with India has been seen as a ploy by those within his own Nepal Communist Party to whip up nationalist sentiments and sideline his rivals in the party, including Pushpa Kumar Dahal Prachanda.
In the lead-up to announcing the changes to the map, Oil had been facing stiff resistance to some of his policies from within his party and outside of it.
He triggered the controversy around the new map after India announced the inauguration of a new road through Lipulekh, which leads directly upto the Kailash Mansarovar and reduces the time taken for pilgrims to get to the holy site by almost 24 hours. The new Mansarovar Road, from Dharchula to Lipulekh, was inaugurated by Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh through video conferencing earlier this month.
The Ministry of External Affairs said that the release of the new map by Nepal was an "unilateral act is not based on historical facts and evidence."
"Such artificial enlargement of territorial claims will not be accepted by India. 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," MEA's official spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said in a statement.
India's Army Chief General MM Naravane reckoned during a video conference in the wake of Nepal releasing its revised map that Kathmandu's objection to the new road could have been done at the behest of a third party, in a cryptic reference to China. Under Oli's tenure, economic and people-to-people ties between Nepal and China have picked up at an unprecedented pace.