STATE TIMES NEWS New Delhi: India on Thursday indicated its readiness to engage with Nepal to resolve the festering border row on the basis of mutual sensitivity and respect. India is monitoring the current situation in Nepal, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said referring to Kathmandu deferring a plan to bring in a constitutional amendment to validate a new map that depicted Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura as its territory “We note that this matter is receiving careful consideration in Nepal, taking its seriousness into account,” he said at an online media briefing. In the midst of a border dispute with India, Nepal last week released a revised political and administrative map of the country laying claim over the strategically key areas of Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura. India reacted angrily to the move saying such “artificial enlargement” of territorial claims are not acceptable and asked the neighbouring country to refrain from such “unjustified cartographic assertion”. “India is open to engaging with all its neighbours on the basis of mutual sensitivity and mutual respect, in an environment of trust and confidence. This is a continuous process and requires constructive and positive efforts,” Srivastava said. He also talked about India attaching great importance to the deep rooted historical, cultural and friendly relations with Nepal. Nepal delayed a discussion in Parliament to amend the Constitution for updating the country’s map after Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli decided to seek national consensus on the issue. The Constitution amendment proposal was to be tabled in Parliament on Tuesday but it could not be done after Oli said that he wanted to hold an all-party meeting to discuss the matter. According to Nepal’s law, a constitutional amendment requires two-third majority vote. The ties between the two countries came under strain after Defence Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated a 80-km-long strategically crucial road connecting the Lipulekh pass with Dharchula in Uttarakhand on May 8. Nepal reacted sharply to the inauguration of the road claiming that it passed through Nepalese territory. India rejected the claim asserting that the road lies completely within its territory. Nepalese Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali earlier this month summoned Indian Ambassador Vinay Mohan Kwatra and handed over a diplomatic note to protest against India inaugurating the key road. The Lipulekh pass is a far western point near Kalapani, a disputed border area between Nepal and India. Both India and Nepal claim Kalapani as an integral part of their territory — India as part of Uttarakhand’s Pithoragarh district and Nepal as part of Dharchula district.
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