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Inappropriate to make Army speak over border issues: Nepal PM on Indian Army Chief's remark on Lipulekh issue

It is inappropriate to make the Army speak over border issues in between two neighbouring countries, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli said in response to Indian Army Chief Manoj Mukund Naravane's remarks on Nepal acting on "behest of someone" after Kathmandu protested over India's newly-built road passing through Lipulekh area.

"Nepal Army does not need to respond or give counter-argument over the statement made by an Army chief of other nation. If any nation makes its Army comment on mutual issues then that also is not appropriate," Oli said.

On Friday, General Naravane had suggested that Nepal might be raising the issue of road construction via Lipulekh to Mansarovar at "behest of someone else" after Kathmandu protested against it.


During a webinar organised by a think tank, General Naravane, without naming China, said on last Friday, "There is reason to believe that they might have raised this issue at the behest of someone else and that is very much possible."

"The road constructed by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) is on the west side of Kali river. So, I do not know what exactly they are agitating about," he added.

India had made it clear that there is no dispute over the new road built in Uttarakhand, connecting the Lipulekh pass with Kailash Mansarovar route in China. But, Nepal had protested against it and also deployed a security post near the area.

General Naravane had said there were some issues as to where the tri-junction between India, Nepal and China should be. "There have never been any problems on this score in the past," the Indian Army chief further said.

The tri-junction point of Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura in Nepal's northwest separates China/Tibet to the north and India's Kumaon to the south and is watered by Mahakali river, which has been considered as natural demarcation line to separate on the borders.

Border issues with India have been a regular phenomenon in Nepal. Late last week, the Indian envoy was handed over a diplomatic note by Nepal after a dispute arose over the construction of the road leading to Mansarovar via Lipulek, a territory claimed by Nepal.

On May 8, India's Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had inaugurated the link road to Kailash Mansarovar yatra via video conferencing. Nepal said it has "consistently maintained" that as per the Sugauli Treaty (1816), "all the territories east of Kali (Mahakali) river, including Limpiyadhura, Kalapani and LipuLekh, belong to Nepal."

The Indian Defence Ministry had said the new road in Uttarakhand has connected Kailash Mansarovar route to Lipulekh pass, which will provide connectivity to border villages and for security forces.

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