Dispute flares over road to Tibet
NEW DELHI — A longrunning territorial dispute between India and Nepal has flared over a new Indianbuilt road to a revered Hindu pilgrimage site in Tibet that Nepal says passes through its territory.
India has issued a strongly worded statement in which it objected to a new map issued by the Nepalese government showing the disputed areas as part of Nepal.
“This unilateral act is not based on historical facts and evidence,” India said in the statement late Wednesday. “It is contrary to the bilateral understanding to resolve the outstanding boundary issues through diplomatic dialogue. Such artificial enlargement of territorial claims will not be accepted by India.”
Last week, Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated the 50mile road, which is the shortest route from New Delhi to Kailash-Mansarovar, a sacred area in Tibet. It cuts through the Lipu Lekh Himalayan pass, a potential trade route between India and China.
Nepal has fiercely contested India’s claim to the territory, which Indian maps show is part of its state of Uttarakhand, since the early 19th century because of its potential as an economic corridor. Nepal says the new road passes through its territory and views its construction as an example of bullying by its much larger neighbor.
The dispute figured in Nepal’s parliament on Tuesday, with Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli asserting that the disputed territories belong to Nepal.
“We will get them back,” he said.