Kathmandu [Nepal], May 9 (ANI): The government of Nepal has objected to the inauguration of the 'Link Road' to Kailash Mansarovar yatra by India, terming it "unilateral act" that runs against the understanding reached between the two countries.
"The Government of Nepal has learnt with regret about the 'inauguration' yesterday by India of 'Link Road' connecting to Lipu Lekh (Nepal), which passes through Nepali territory," Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Nepal said in a release.
India's Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had on Friday inaugurated the Link Road to Kailash Mansarovar yatra via video conferencing.
Nepal said it has "consistently maintained" that as per the Sugauli Treaty (1816), "all the territories east of Kali (Mahakali) River, including Limpiyadhura, Kalapani and Lipu Lekh, belong to Nepal."
"This was reiterated by the Government of Nepal several times in the past and most recently through a diplomatic note addressed to the Government of India dated 20 November 2019 in response to the new political map issued by the latter," the release from Nepal Foreign Ministry read.
"This unilateral act runs against the understanding reached between the two countries including at the level of Prime Ministers that a solution to boundary issues would be sought through negotiation," it said while adding that the Government of Nepal remains committed to seeking a diplomatic solution to boundary issues on the basis of the "historical treaty, documents, facts and maps in keeping with the spirit of close and friendly ties between the two countries."
Nepal called upon India to refrain from "carrying out any activity inside the territory of Nepal."
The Foreign Ministry, Nepal recalled that the government had expressed its disagreement in 2015 through separate diplomatic notes addressed to the governments of both India and China when the two sides agreed to include Lipu Lekh Pass as a bilateral trade route without Nepal's consent in the Joint Statement issued on May 15, 2015 during the official visit of the Prime Minister of India to China.
"The Government of Nepal reemphasizes that pending boundary issues between the two countries should be resolved through diplomatic means. With this in mind, the Government of Nepal has proposed twice the dates for holding the meeting of the Foreign Secretaries of the two countries, as mandated by their leaders, for which the response from the Indian side is still awaited," it said.
It pointed out that the two governments had constituted the Eminent Persons Group (EPG) on Nepal-India Relations with a mandate to recommend measures and institutional framework with a view to elevating the existing relations to a new height.
"The Group has concluded its task and prepared a consensus report. The Government of Nepal is ready to receive the report and believes that it will be in the interest of the two countries to implement its recommendations which will also help address the outstanding issues left by the history, thereby paving the way for ever stronger neighbourly relations," it said.
Indian Defence Ministry had said the Border Road Organisation (BRO) in Uttarakhand has connected Kailash Mansarovar route to Lipulekh pass, which will provide connectivity to border villages and security forces.
"Border Roads Organisation connects Kailash Mansarovar Route to China Border. While combating COVID-19 pandemic, BRO in Uttarakhand has connected Kailash Mansarovar route to Lipulekh pass at a ht of 17,060 ft; thus providing connectivity to border villages and security forces," the Ministry had tweeted. (ANI)