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Nepal will take back "disputed" land from India: PM Deuba

Nepal will take back disputed land from India: PM Deuba

Kathmandu: It seems Nepal is in no mood to relent on the border disputes with its neighbour, India.

Nepal PM Sher Bahadur Deuba on Saturday ruffled the feathers of India announcing his administration's commitment to take back the "disputed land currently occupied by India", according to IANS.

Sher Bahadur Deuba told the parliament that the government was committed to protecting the land belonging to the country.

Nepal and India have had boundary disputes over Kalapani area for a long time.

The bilateral relations between both nations hit low in 2020 after K P Oli administration released a new map incorporating Indian territories: Kalpani, Lipulekh and Limpiyadhura.

India rejected Nepal's move calling it a "cartographic assertion" and urged the neigbour to settle disputes via established diplomatic mechanisms.

Deuba on Saturday said the government wanted 'sensitive' boundary issue resolved through talks and diplomatic means, but staked claim for Kalapani, Lipulekh and Limpiyadhura.

Former Prime Minister Oli had criticised Deuba government in the House on Friday for failing to take back the land occupied by India.

Deuba said that relations with India are multidimensional and areas of cooperation are diverse.

"We are pursuing the policy of non-alignment while conducting our foreign relations. While keeping the national interest, mutual benefits and respect, the government is committed to strengthening and seeping its relations with neighbours and all friendly nations. And the government is also committed to protect the land belonging to Nepal," he said in a reply to Oli.

Deuba highlighted the energy cooperation between Nepal and India first signed in 2014. Deuba government has already decided to contract out one hydroelectric project to India and negotiations are on for another hydroelectric project.

On the issue of submission of the report of Eminent Persons' Group on Nepal-India relations, pending for three years, Deuba asked Oli why he had not received the report three years back.

Back in 2016, Nepal and India had formed an eight-member EPG mandated to review various aspects of the bilateral relations including Nepal-India Friendship Treaty 1950.

The report it has developed working three and a half years will be submitted to the Prime Ministers of both nations, it said.The Indian side was reluctant to accept the report due to some reservations.

Oli had criticised the Deuba government for failing to create an environment to receive the report. When the EPG report was ready, Oli was Prime Minister in Nepal.

"What stopped you from receiving the report three years back? Nepal government is committed to create an environment so that the report would be submitted to both sides," Deuba told Oli.

Deuba also spoke on Nepal's relations with China after Oli questioned the breach in Nepal's long standing position of respecting one-China policy. Oli said that recently a senior US official visited the Tibetan camps based in Kathmandu which has breached Nepal's one-China policy. Nepal is the house of around 15,000 Tibetan refugees and some 6,000 are deprived from documentation. The US and some Western countries have been putting pressure on the government of Nepal to provide the refugee identity cards to the rest of Tibetans who are deprived from the registration.

The government is committed to one-China policy and fully aware that its land would not be used against its neighbours, said Deuba.

Oli also raised Nepal's commitment towards China's BRI which Nepal signed up with Beijing-led flagship project in 2017 but not a single project has been implemented yet.

But the Deuba government has put reservations over the BRI, saying that it cannot take loans to invest in the projects to be funded under it.

The government will take wise decisions to implement the development assistance including the BRI and others as per the requirements of the country, capacity of the country and merits, Deuba said.

Source: IANS

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