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Nepal Parl clears revised map, India says 'not tenable'

Kathmandu/New Delhi: In an apparent snub to India, Nepal's Parliament on Saturday unanimously voted to amend the Constitution to update the country's new political map, laying claim over three strategically key areas along the border with it, which includes a stretch of land high in the mountains that India claims as its own.

The House of Representatives opened the discussion on the Amendment Bill, which was put for voting after the deliberations were over.

All the 258 votes were in favour and the House has a total strength of 275, so the Amendment Bill was passed by a two-thirds majority.

In a show of unprecedented national unity, Opposition parties including the Nepali Congress, Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal and Rastriya Prajatantra Party voted in favour of the Bill to amend Schedule 3 of the Constitution to update the national emblem by incorporating the controversial map featuring new areas of Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura along Nepal's border with India.

On the other hand, India, reacting to the new map, said this artificial enlargement of claims is not tenable.

"We have noted that the House of Representatives of Nepal has passed a Constitution Amendment Bill for changing the map of Nepal to include parts of Indian territory. We have already made our position clear on this matter," India's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said on Saturday.

"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," he added.

Indian Army chief General M M Naravane on Saturday said the relationship between the two countries has always been strong and will remain so in the future.

But in May, Nepal's ruling party had cleared the map, drawing a fierce reaction from India, which described the move as "unilateral" and not based on historical facts. The opposition Nepali Congress had said it would vote in favour of the amendment, amid friction with India over the issue.

With agency inputs

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