Nepali officials say border guards opened fire after a group of Indians crossed frontier, sparking clashes. Meanwhile, Nepal's parliament is set to vote on a new map of its border with India in response to India's new map that's stoked tensions.

Nepali activists holding placards protest against the alleged encroachment of Nepal's border by India in the far west, on May 12, 2020.
Nepali activists holding placards protest against the alleged encroachment of Nepal's border by India in the far west, on May 12, 2020. (Reuters)

Nepali border guards opened fire on Friday after a group of Indians crossed the frontier, killing one man and wounding two, police said.

About 30 Indians crossed about 100 metres into Nepal's territory in the southern district of Sarlahi and clashed with police when stopped, district police chief Ganga Ram Shrestha told AFP news agency.

Shrestha said the guards at first fired into the air when scores of people gathered and hurdled stones and bricks at police and also snatched a gun.

"The police were forced to fire five rounds to recover the gun, injuring three people. We learnt that one of them died during treatment in India," Shrestha said.

Three Nepali border police were also injured, he added.

Covid-19 lockdown

It was the latest in a series of incidents along the border which Nepal has tightened since imposing a nationwide pandemic lockdown in March.

Indian media said one man was also detained and that officials from the two sides had held talks.

Nepali authorities have stepped up border security because of increased incidents during the lockdown along the 1,750 kilometre frontier which is traditionally open.

Last month police in the western district of Jhapa fired blank rounds to disperse dozens of Indian farmers trying to cross the border.

Territorial tensions with India

Nepal's parliament is set to vote at the weekend on a new map of its border with India, an official said, underlining the Himalayan nation's determination to press its case in a land dispute that has strained ties with its giant neighbour.

"A house meeting has been scheduled for Saturday when the amendment is expected to be debated and put to vote," parliamentary official Dashrath Dhamala told Reuters news agency.

Nepal published the revised map in May showing the sliver of land on its northwest tip as its territory, a move rejected by India, which controls the area and says the land belongs to it.

The government has tabled the new map in parliament, seeking to amend the constitution and remove the old version.

Indian rejection of Nepal's map

Nepal's Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli had earlier said he has sought talks with India to seek to resolve the dispute over the small stretch of land, which includes the areas of Limpiyadhura, Lipulekh and Kalapani.

"We have told (them) that we want to resolve this through diplomatic talks ... And the solution is that our land should be returned to us," Oli said in parliament on Wednesday.

There was no immediate comment from India on Oli's latest statement.

But New Delhi rejected Nepal's map when it was published in May, calling it a "unilateral act" that was not based on historical facts or evidence.

Cause of border dispute 

Tensions have been brewing between both sides after India issued fresh maps of its borders, which showed 62 sq km of Nepali territory, known as Kalapani, as its own.

Earlier this month, India's defence minister Rajnath Singh remotely inaugurated a road in a territory claimed by Nepal.

When the Nepali government protested, Indian army chief General M M Naravane said the Nepali protest was at the behest of "someone else" – a reference that points fingers at China.

The 1816 Treaty of Sugauli between Nepal and British India states that the Maha Kali River will form Nepal’s western border. 

But the two sides have often bickered over the actual location of the river.

India's standoff with China

With China, India is locked in a tense border standoff in disputed Kashmir's Ladakh region.

Hundreds of soldiers have been ranged against each other in the remote snow desert of Ladakh since April in the most serious border flare-ups for years after Chinese patrols advanced into what India deems its side of the de facto border, Indian officials say.

China claims the territory to be its own and has objected to the Indian construction of roads in the area.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies