Related Topic in KAS Prelims Syllabus:
International Relations [Paper-I]: India’s Foreign Policy
Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) reiterated the Indian government’s commitment to resolving Kalapani issue with Nepal while responding to a question on boundary issues between the two neighbouring countries.
- In November 2019, India released new maps of the country to account for the newly formed Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh.
- The map was released in the aftermath of the Reorganisation of J&K Act 2019 that showed PoK in the newly-formed Union Territory of J&K. The new map also shows Kalapani in India.
- India’s foreign ministry has clarified that the new map “has in no manner, revised India’s boundary with Nepal”.
- Nepal claimed that the Limpiyadhura, Lipulekh and Kalapani areas shown in India’s maps lie within its territory.
What is Kalapani border?
- The Kalapani region lies in a junction bordering three countries – India, Nepal and China.
- Kalapani is a 35 square kilometre area in the Uttarakhand’s Pithoragarh district, which falls under the jurisdiction of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP).
- The valley of Kalapani, with the Lipulekh Pass at the top, forms the Indian route to Kailash Manasarovar, an ancient pilgrimage site.
- The territory is also the traditional trading route to Tibet for the Bhotiyas of Uttarakhand.
- Nepal claims this region as part of Darchula district.
Treaty of Sugauli
- In 1816, the East India Company and Nepal signed the Treaty of Sugauli under the conclusion of the Anglo-Nepalese War and Nepalese territories including Darjeeling were handed over to the British East India Company as concessions.
- The treaty defined river Mahakali as the western border of Nepal.
- The Nepalese government has claimed that the Lipulekh Pass belongs to them as mentioned in Sugauli Treaty signed between the British East India Company and Nepal in 1816.
- The Treaty identified River Kali as Nepal’s boundary with India. The river has many tributaries, the confluence of which takes place at Kalapani.
- While Nepal claims the origin of the river in Lipulekh Pass to be the main Kali and hence is asserting territorial rights to it.
- India claims that River Kali begins in Kalapani as this is where all its tributaries merge, and is exerting claims on the area to the east of it.
Why is Kalapani Significant?
- Lipulekh Pass serves an important vantage point for India to keep a track of China’s movements. The pass also serves as a trading route between India and China as well as a pilgrim route to Tibet.
- The strategic position of the 35-square kilometre region is of great significance. India’s surveillance of Chinese movements is aided by the height of the Lipulekh pass.