4-10 September 2015 #774

“His Highness gave us Kalapani”

Bhekh Bahadur Thapa in Naya Patrika, 31 August

When I was Nepal’s ambassador to India from 1997 to 2003, there was a meeting of Nepali and Indian survey officers in New Delhi to sort out border disputes. Nepali survey officers were well-prepared, with experts like Buddhi Narayan Shrestha and they presented verified maps showing Kalapani as a part of Nepali territory with land revenue receipts from Nepali citizens residing between Limpiyadhura and Kalapani to prove it.

Indian survey officers did not have such strong evidence to claim Kalapani was in India and could not refute the proof presented by the Nepali team. Even so, the meeting ended inconclusively.

I organised a reception for the Nepali survey officers at the embassy, where the Director General of India’s Survey Department was also present. I told him that prolonging the border dispute would harm relations between the two countries.

“We presented all the necessary documents, why would would we want to delay a resolution of the issue?” I asked. His reply: “His Highness gave Kalapani to us.” He did not say ‘His Majesty’, meaning that someone besides the king had granted Kalapani to India. I maintained that not even the king or parliament had the right to hand over territory to a foreign country. He did not reply.

Later, India’s National Security Advisor Brajesh Mishra told me: “Our force does not feel secure to pull out of Kalapani.”

So I said to him: “Do you want me to report to my government that Indian forces do not want to leave Kalapani though the land belongs to Nepal?” That was the last conversation I ever had with the Indian authorities about Kalapani. A few years later, there was regime change in Nepal and new rulers were increasingly convinced that they could attain and cling to power only with Indian intervention. Now, the Kalapani issue seems to have fizzled out.

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