KATHMANDU, Oct 11: The Office of the Prime Minister has stated that the mapping of disputed areas along the Nepal-India border and repair and reconstruction of border pillars will be concluded within the next four years, settling key border dispute with the southern neighbor.
Responding to lawmakers’ questions over the government’s plans for recovering encroached Nepali land , the PMO has said that settling border disputes with India is top priority.
“Joint teams from Nepal and India have been working in the field for the repair and reconstruction of border pillars and the mapping of encroached areas by checking the strip map signed between the two countries in 2007,” reads an answer furnished by the PMO to the House of Representatives .
“The plan is to conclude the task within four years, identifying the cross-border occupation areas as well as preparing a modality for addressing cross-holding issues.”
Nepal Workers Peasants Party (NWPP) lawmaker Prem Suwal had registered a question at the parliament secretariat in August, seeking a response from the PMO concerning these matters. New parliamentary regulations provide for a new practice of question and answer sessions in the House, during which lawmakers can register questions demanding written or oral answers from the ministries concerned. Answers from various ministries and the PMO were tabled in the House last month, prior to the prorogation of the session.
PMO has also written to parliament stating that a mechanism headed by the foreign secretary has been working on settling the border dispute in the Susta and Kalapani areas.
Similarly, the government has informed parliament in writing that a joint survey team representing India and Nepal has fixed the GPS points along the Nepal-India border and border disputes will be settled on the basis of the team’s survey reports.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has informed parliament that the Nepal government has been in a dialogue with both India and China for settling the Lipulekh dispute. India and China had issued a joint-statement in May 2015 on using Lipulekh, which lies on the Nepal side of the border tri-junction, as a border entry point between those two countries . Nepal was kept in the dark.
The Nepal government has been protesting the decision. The ministry has also informed parliament that the government has sought the official positions of both India and China .
The government has also informed parliament that China has signed a protocol to open eight border entry points on the Nepal border for the transport of goods. “Nepal and China had signed a protocol on the use of three border entry points in 2005. A protocol was also signed during the prime minister’s China visit to use an additional five border entry points,” reads another answer from the government.