India rejects Nepal's new map approved by latter's lower house of parliament that includes strategic territories disputed with its giant neighbour.
The lower house of Nepal's parliament on Saturday approved a new map of the country, including areas disputed with India, the speaker of the national legislature said.
Nepal's vote comes a day after its border guards opened fire on a group of Indians who crossed the frontier, killing one man and wounding two.
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 said.
The move signals a hardening of Nepal's position over a decades-long border row that has strained ties between the South Asian neighbours.
India immediately rejected Nepal's new map, calling it a "unilateral act" that is not based on historical facts or evidence.
Nepal's parliament officially endorses the new map — including (occupied by India) Kalapani, Limpiyadhura, and Lipulekh. A colossal blow to India's failed (neighborhood first) foreign policy. A reminder to India's expansionist behavior that it can no longer bully Nepal.— Arun Budhathoki (@arunbudhathoki) June 13, 2020
Kathmandu erupts in celebration
In the capital city Kathmandu, dozens of people painted the new map on a street and lit candles on it in celebration of Saturday's decision.
Standing outside parliament after the vote, Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli held out the prospect of talks with India to resolve the dispute.
"It is a good thing that there is unity," Oli told reporters.
"Now there will be talks (with India)."
The House of Representatives unanimously adopted the Constitution Amendment Bill, paving the way for accommodating the updated political-administrative map in the national emblem. pic.twitter.com/Ndb9xUmT16— Pradeep Gyawali (@PradeepgyawaliK) June 13, 2020
Escalating territorial dispute
Nepal published its revised map in May after India inaugurated a 80-km road connecting its northern Uttarakhand state with Lipulekh on the border with Tibet that passes through the land Nepal says belongs to it.
Nepal condemned the move and its cabinet decided to publish a new political map that includes Lipu Lekh and contested zones in Kalapani and Limpiyadhura.
The new map shows a sliver of land on the northwest tip of Nepal as the Nepali territory.
Agni Prasad Sapkota, Speaker of Nepal's House of Representatives, said the new map was approved by 258 out of 275 members of parliament, exceeding the required two-thirds majority.
There were no votes against.
The map must also be passed by the National Assembly, the parliament's upper chamber, and approved by President Bidhya Devi Bhandari before it becomes a part of the constitution.
Remember Modi had used months long blockade against Nepal in 2015 while the country was struggling to recover from a devastating earthquake in the name of supporting Madheshis. Today, Madheshi leaders severely criticized India and approved Nepal’s new map in the Parliament!— Ashok Swain (@ashoswai) June 13, 2020
Prachanda, a former prime minister and chief of the ruling Nepal Communist Party, said Nepal did not want to complicate the matter and seeks a peaceful settlement.
"We want to resolve the issue with India through peaceful talks at the political and diplomatic levels," Prachanda, the former Maoist rebel chief, who still goes by his war nom de guerre, said in parliament on Saturday.
The neighbours are wrangling over a region of more than 300 square kilometres where the Nepali and Indian borders touch China.
Nepal claims the Lipu Lekh under an 1816 treaty that sets the boundary with India along the Kali River. Disputes have arisen because neither side can agree its source.
Nepal claims the adjoining Kalapani region even though Indian troops have been deployed there since India and China fought a border war in 1962.
Nepal has since deployed security forces close to Kalapani.
India rejects Nepal map
Nepal and India have agreed to hold talks on the dispute but Kathmandu says its neighbour will not set a date.
"We are available for talks," Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Shiva Maya Tumbahangphe told parliament.
Following Saturday's vote, India's foreign ministry spokesman Anurag Srivastava said: "The 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."
#Nepal parliament has approved a new map that shows Indian territory as part of Nepal. So now we have border disputes with #Pakistan #China and #Nepal. Muslim Pakistan Communist China and once the only Hindu kingdom in world have border disputes with us. #justsaying— Saba Naqvi (@_sabanaqvi) June 13, 2020
Nepal reacted angrily last month after Indian army chief General M M Naravane commented that Nepal's reaction might have been "at the behest of someone else", hinting at China's involvement.
With China too, India is engaged in an ongoing border standoff on the eastern flanks of India-administered Kashmir.
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 says the territory is its own and has objected to the Indian construction of roads in the area.
Both sides have held military-level talks without any success.