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Nepal Summons Indian Ambassador Over Road Built For Kailash Mansarovar

Nepal Summons Indian Ambassador Over Road Built For Kailash Mansarovar

New Delhi: In an escalating diplomatic row, Nepal's foreign minister summoned India's ambassador on Monday over a new road being built through the Lipulekh pass in Uttarakhand that is claimed by Kathmandu.

Nepal has expressed its anger since India on Friday inaugurated the 80-kilometre road along the border with China in Uttarakhand with Dharchula at a height of 17,000 feet in the Himalayas.

Nepal, which claims the pass under an 1816 treaty, on Saturday had condemned India's "unilateral act" that "runs against the understanding reached between the two countries... that a solution to boundary issues would be sought through negotiations."

In response, India's External Affairs Ministry said the road "lies completely within the territory of India".

"The recently inaugurated road section in Pithoragarh district in the state of Uttarakhand lies completely within the territory of India. The road follows the pre-existing route used by the pilgrims of the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra. Under the present project, the same road has been made pliable for the ease and convenience of pilgrims, locals and traders," the foreign ministry said in a statement.

"India and Nepal have established mechanism to deal with all boundary matters. The boundary delineation exercise with Nepal is ongoing. India is committed to resolving outstanding boundary issues through diplomatic dialogue and in the spirit of our close and friendly bilateral relations with Nepal," it added.

The road inaugurated by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh via video-conferencing on Friday is expected to help pilgrims visiting Kailash Mansarovar in Tibet.

Nepal, which has a series of boundary disputes with its both India and China, had previously protested to both in 2015 when they issued a statement listing the Lipulekh pass as a bilateral trade route.

Kathmandu also claims the Kalapani region, which adjoins Lipulekh, although Indian troops have been deployed there since India and China fought a border war in 1962.

Last year India published a map that showed Kalapani within its borders, a move protested by Nepal.

(Inputs and image from ndtv.com)

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