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Nepal’s ‘No’ to Books With New Map Surprises Many

Nepal’s ‘No’ to Books With New Map Surprises Many

nepal books not publishing

The latest directive issued by the Nepal cabinet to its ministry of education advised the latter against distributing and printing any more copies of the new text book

In a move that surprised the international analysts watching the latest issues of thorns between India and its tiny Himalayan neighbour,  Nepal has suddenly stopped distribution of a new text book which showed three important Indian areas as part of its territory.

Authorities in Nepal blamed it on `a number of factual errors’ that were supposed to have cropped up during the making of the book.

Even as the Nepal ministry of foreign affairs and ministry of land management have reportedly expressed some reservations on the content, the decision itself has surprised the Indian analysts.

Because, there have been no formal requests from the Indian authorities to their Nepalese counterparts for reviewing the latter’s decision on publishing new books with new delineation of Nepal’s international boundary with India.

India has already termed as untenable the “artificial enlargement” of the territorial claims by Nepal after its Parliament unanimously approved the new political map of the country.

The new map has featured  Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura areas which India maintains,  belong to it.

A Cabinet meeting in the last week of September resolved to advise the Ministry of Education not to distribute and print any more copies of the text book meant for Class IXth to XIIth standard.

A local media report quoting Janak Raj Joshi, spokesperson of the ministry of land reforms, said that the ministry of education does not have the authority and expertise to change Nepal’s geographical area.

“There are errors in the book prepared by the ministry of education on a subject it has no expertise. The higher authorities have been asked to take corrective measures,” Joshi was quoted as saying.

Interestingly, the concerned body of the Nepal government is yet to officially declare the revised geographical area of the country.

According to him, the department of survey, which is the official agency that maps and declares the total area of the country,  has not made any decision on the area.

Nepal education minister Giriraj Mani Pokharel on September 15 released the 110-page book titled, Self Study Material on Nepal’s Territory and Border which dwells around historical facts about the country’s territory and its border dispute mainly with India.

The book depicts Nepal’s new area to be 147,641.28 square kms including the 460.28 sq km of the Kalapani area belonging to India.

Kalapani  was included in Nepal’s political map on May 20 last by its cabinet.

The preface of the book features a six-page article in which Pokharel has stated about Nepal’s border disputes with India and other related issues.

The lack of elaboration on the decision of deferment has not escaped the attention of the analysts who believe that the Communist government in Nepal has adopted a little go-slow on its current approach towards India.

He said that he had launched a campaign to protect the Nepalese territory, including the areas of Kalapani, Lipulekh and Limpiyadhura.

Notwithstanding his submission in the preface, Pokharel was quoted in the media as saying that the distribution of the book has been postponed for the time being.

The lack of elaboration on the decision of deferment has not escaped the attention of the analysts who believe that the Communist government in Nepal has adopted a little go-slow on its current approach towards India.

Because, at home, the government has not been able to secure adequate support from the Nepalese people who are yet to forget the quantum of assistance provided by India in the aftermath of the deadly earthquake that ripped several parts of the country apart a few years ago.

Secondly, the Nepalese population still depends on supplies of essential commodities from India.

The ongoing bitter border disputes notwithstanding, India has not halted its normal business transactions with Nepal as it has done with China.

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In fact, normal bilateral trade between India and China has nosedived by about 38 per cent in the aftermath of bloody border skirmish with Beijing.

After Nepal’s Parliament approved the revised political map comprising Kalapani, Lipulekh and Limpiyadhura areas, the Cabinet decided to use it in government offices and print school text books with the new map.

Nepal in May released the revised political and administrative map of the country laying claim over the three strategically important areas in Uttarakhand, more than six months after India published a new map in November 2019.

Nepal finance minister Yuvaraj Khatiwada affirmed that the government had decided to update the schedule of the Constitution and school curriculum incorporating the new political map.

India in its response said that it had already made its position clear on it.

“This artificial enlargement of claims is not based on historical fact or evidence and is not tenable. It is also violative of our current understanding to hold talks on outstanding boundary issues,” India’s Ministry of External Affairs had said in a statement.

The India-Nepal bilateral ties came under strain after defence minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated an 80-km-long strategically crucial road connecting the Lipulekh pass with Dharchula in Uttarakhand on May 8 last.

Nepal reacted sharply to the inauguration of the road claiming that it passed through Nepalese territory.

India rejected the claim asserting that the road lies completely within its territory.

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