İrem UZUN -TDO- The Nepal Parliament on Saturday passed the bill to amend the country’s political map. The new map includes strategic areas bordering India to its territory, such as Kalapani, Lipulekh and Limpiyadhura, in the country’s Constitution. The move signals a hardening of Nepal's position over a decades-long border dispute that has strained ties between the South Asian neighbours.
Agni Prasad Sapkota, the speaker of Nepal's House of Representatives, said the new map was approved by 258 out of 275 members of Parliament, exceeding the required two-thirds majority. There were no votes against. The map must also be passed by the National Assembly, the Parliament's upper chamber, and approved by President Bidhya Devi Bhandari before it becomes a part of the constitution. Prachanda, a former prime minister and chief of the ruling Nepal Communist Party, said Nepal did not want to complicate the matter and seeks a peaceful settlement. "We want to resolve the issue with India through peaceful talks at the political and diplomatic levels," Prachanda, the former Maoist rebel chief, who still goes by his war nom de guerre, said in Parliament on Saturday.
According to the Al Jazeera news’ report, India on Saturday rejected the Nepal government’s move to amend its Constitution and alter its map by including territories that fall under Indian territory. India’s Ministry of External Affairs said Nepal’s artificial enlargement of claims is “not based on historical fact or evidence and is not tenable”. Earlier in the day, Indian Army chief Gen M. Naravane said bilateral ties with Nepal has always been strong and will remain so in the future.