New map of Nepalese currency including Indian territory

Last Updated on May 6, 2024 4:30 am

China’s influence is gradually moving the Himalayan country of Nepal away from India. Nepal recently decided to introduce a new currency note; which characterizes the territories claimed by India. As a result, tensions are currently rising between the two once friendly neighboring countries.

Nepal Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal has decided to print a new map of ‘Prachanda’ Nepal, as if Lipulekh, Limpiyadhura and Kalapani regions are included in the 100 rupees coin.

The new map in Mudra comes after the Nepalese government termed India’s claim on the territory as ‘artificial enlargement’ and ‘unnecessary’.

“A cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahl ‘Prachanda’ has decided to print a new map of Nepal, which includes Lipulekh, Limpiyadhura and Kalapani, on the Rs 100 currency,” government spokesperson Rekha Sharma was quoted as saying by Indian news agency PTI.

In the Cabinet meeting held on April 25 and May 2, the cabinet approved the new design on the Rs 100 currency and replacing the old map printed on the background on the bank currency, the report quoted Sharma as saying.

Nepal shares more than 1,850 km long border with five Indian states – Sikkim, West Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. In June 2023, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Nepalese counterpart Pushpa Kamal Dahal promised to resolve the border dispute in a spirit of friendship during a ‘massive’ visit to India. However, there has been no movement so far.

The strategic Lipulekh Pass connects the Indian state of Uttarakhand with the Tibetan region of China. The Kalapani region is strategically important in South Asian diplomacy, as it lies at the tri-junction between India, China and Nepal. Nepal is a ‘buffer state’ between China and India – both countries have ambitions for power in the region. The Kalapani dispute could affect the relationship between the three.

In 2020, India inaugurated an 80 km road to facilitate pilgrims to Kailash-Mansarovar in Tibet, China, which is about 90 km from Lipulekh Pass. Lipulekh is a land in the northwestern tip of Nepal, located between Nepal, India and Tibet. It is a far western point near Kalapani, a disputed border area between Nepal and India.

The road has strategic value for India as it will be the first to connect Indian troops deployed along the Line of Actual Control with China in Uttarakhand.

The road starts from Ghatiabgarh and ends at Lipulekh Pass, the gateway to Kailash-Mansarovar. The road was approved by the Indian Cabinet Committee on Security in 2005 and was built on the recommendations of an inter-ministerial China Study Group.

Nepal’s territorial dispute with India over Lipulekh came to a head in May 2015 when India and China agreed to develop the region for trade and transit. Kathmandu has sent diplomatic notes to New Delhi and Beijing protesting the deal, accusing it of violating Nepal’s territorial integrity.

In 2019, India released a new political map showing the disputed territories within its international borders. However, the Nepali people erupted in protest over the incident, demanding that the Nepalese constitution be amended to include these disputed territories.

Indo-Nepal relations, which have been under strain since 2015 when India imposed an informal economic embargo on Nepal, have further deteriorated.

In 2020, Indian Prime Minister Modi emphasized how his government had built a road through the disputed Lipulekh to Manas Khand, the gateway to the Hindu pilgrimage site of Mansarovar in Tibet.

A speech aimed at Hindu voters in Uttarakhand caused a stir in Nepal. Following the protests in Nepal, the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu issued a press release on January 15 claiming that the country’s position was “consistent and unequivocal”.

This was followed by a statement by Nepal’s foreign ministry on 17 January that reaffirmed its claim over Limpiyadhura, Lipulekh and Kalapani and called on India to stop unilateral construction or development work in those areas.

The then Indian Army Chief General MM Naravane (retd) hinted that the Nepalese government’s objections to the construction of a strategic link road in Uttarakhand on the border with China may have been “at someone else’s behest”.

The army chief’s comments were aimed at China, prompting Kathmandu to raise the issue with India.

In fact the three disputed territories have been firmly under Indian control for the past 60 years or more, and the people living in those territories are now Indian citizens, pay taxes in India and vote in Indian elections.

Source: The Eurasian Times

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