From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Nothing much
Mains level : Indo-Nepal relations : Kalapani area
Recently, India released maps that showed Kalapani at the India-Nepal-China trijunction to the north and Susta to the south as Indian territory.
The notion of boundaries as lines drawn on a map is significant in the Subcontinent. Here, the empires and kingdoms shaded into one another across ambiguous frontiers.
- Neither country has allowed a political boundary to interrupt the age-old traffic of people
- People shared ties of kinship, religion, and culture.
- This is being threatened by territorial nationalism on the Nepali side and a security state on the Indian side.
- The two countries have settled about 98% of their common border and these are reflected in the 182 strip maps initiated by them.
- More than 8,500 boundary pillars have been installed, reflecting the agreed alignment.
- Kathmandu Valley remains the crucible of Nepali politics and the arbiter of its domestic and foreign policies.
- In Nepal, political groupings try to project bullying and overbearing India to present themselves as custodians of national interest.
- Recent demonstrations in Kathmandu show how Left competed with Nepali Congress to oppose India.
Issue over maps
- These maps have nothing to do with Nepal.
- They were published to reflect the recent bifurcation of the state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) into the two new Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh.
- There was no change in the depiction of the India-Nepal boundary.
- The perception was created that the publication of the new map was a departure from the past and constituted cartographic aggression.
Nepal – rhetoric
- Most of the time, the Nepali side raises such issues for rhetorical purposes but is uninterested in following up through serious negotiations.
- The same happened with Nepali demands for the revision of the India-Nepal Friendship Treaty.
- The Indian side agreed in 2001 to hold talks at the foreign secretary-level to come up with a revised treaty. Only one such round of talks has taken place.
- In the past, Nepal has claimed territory in the Kalapani area and Susta as its own.
- The two sides agreed that these differences should be resolved through friendly negotiations. These talks are yet to take place.
- The Kalapani controversy has arisen due to a difference in perception over the real and primary sources of the Mahakali river.
- The Treaty of Sugauli concluded in 1816 that locates the river as the western boundary with India but different British maps showed the source tributary at different places.
- Then the state of cartographic science and less-refined surveying techniques creates these problems.
- With regard to Susta, the problem has arisen as a result of the shifting of the course of the river.
- There are only two ways to deal with this challenge — either to accept a shifting border as the river itself shifts or to agree on a boundary which remains fixed despite changes in the course of the river.
Indo-Nepal relations: Pipeline
- The Motihari-Amlekhgang pipeline for safe, secure and assured supply of petroleum products to Nepal was launched.
- These supplies were trucked across the border in the past.
- There were frequents incidents of pilferage and contamination in transit and interruptions due to natural disasters or roadblocks during political protests.
- This is a demonstration of what cross-border cooperation can achieve to benefit both countries.
Bilateral relations: People-People
- There are six to eight million Nepali citizens living and working in India.
- They enjoy immense goodwill and a congenial and friendly environment wherever they are.
India could regularly offer to take up outstanding issues bilaterally even though the Nepali side may wish to side-step.