India, Nepal holds top-level talks, amid border tensions

By: Archita Srivastava

The meeting, which will be held virtually as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak, will assess the progress made on the various development projects supported by India that are being implemented in Nepal, sources said.

Senior diplomats of India and Nepal on Monday held a virtual meeting to review the progress made on various India-aided developmental projects being implemented in the Himalayan nation.

The meeting came days after Nepal’s Prime Minister, K P Sharma Oli, phoned his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi, to welcome him on India’s 74th Independence Day, the first high-level contact since bilateral ties had been severely strained following the issue of a new political map by Nepal in May.

Nepalese Foreign Secretary Shanker Das Bairagi and Indian Ambassador to Nepal Vinay Mohan Kwatra are leading delegations from their respective countries during a surveillance system meeting, according to sources from the Nepal Foreign Ministry.

The meeting, being held virtually due to the Coronavirus outbreak, will assess the progress made on various India aided development projects being implemented in Nepal, the sources said.

No further details of the meeting were available.

The ties between India and Nepal 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.

Nepal protested the inauguration of the road claiming that it passed through its territory. Days later, Nepal came out with the new map showing Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura as its territories.

In June, Nepal’s Parliament approved the new political map of the country featuring areas which India maintains belong to it.

In its reaction, after Nepal’s lower house of parliament approved the bill, India termed as untenable the “artificial enlargement” of territorial claims by the neighbouring country.

India said Nepal’s action violates an understanding reached between the two countries to resolve the boundary issues through talks.

Prime Minister Oli has been asserting that Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura belong to Nepal and vowed to “reclaim” them from India.

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