‘Unilateral, untenable’, says Jaishankar on Nepal’s new ₹100 currency note featuring disputed Indian territories

EAM Jaishankar told reporters that India's position is ‘very clear’, adding that discussions about the boundary matters are ongoing through an established platform. ‘They unilaterally took some measures on their side, but … they are not going to change the reality on the ground,’ he added.

Livemint
First Published5 May 2024
A  <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>100 Nepal bank note. Nepal government has decided to replace the map of Nepal printed in the background of its new  <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>100 currency note with a new map including disputed borders with India.
A ₹100 Nepal bank note. Nepal government has decided to replace the map of Nepal printed in the background of its new ₹100 currency note with a new map including disputed borders with India. (PTI)

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has termed Nepal's introduction of a new 100 currency note featuring a map that includes disputed territories with India as "unilateral" and "untenable", PTI reported.

Jaishankar said this move "would not change the situation on the ground", it added.

"I saw that report. I have not looked at it in detail, but I think our position is very clear. With Nepal, we were having discussions about our boundary matters through an established platform. And then in the middle of that, they unilaterally took some measures on their side. But by doing something on their side, they are not going to change the situation between us or the reality on the ground," Jaishankar told reporters.

Nepal's New 100 Note

On May 3, the Nepal government said it would print the new currency note displaying areas such as Lipulekh, Limpiyadhura, and Kalapani, which India has previously criticised as an "artificial enlargement" of Nepal's territory.

Nepal government spokesperson Rekha Sharma said the decision to incorporate the disputed territories into the currency note's design was made during a meeting chaired by Nepal's prime minister.

“The meeting of the council of ministers chaired by Prime Minister Pushpakamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ took a decision to print the new map of Nepal, which includes the Lipulekh, Limpiyadhura and Kalapani in the 100 denomination bank notes. The cabinet approved re-designing the banknote of 100 and replacing the old map printed in the background of the bank note during the cabinet meetings held on April 25 and May 2,” Sharma, who also serves as the Minister for Information and Communication, told reporters.

Strained Diplomatic Ties Over Border

Nepal's move follows its constitutional amendment on June 18, 2020, to update its political map, incorporating strategically significant areas such as Lipulekh, Kalapani, and Limpiyadhura. India strongly opposed this action, which labelled it as a unilateral act and criticised Nepal's territorial claims as untenable.

Nepal shares a more than 1,850 km border with five Indian states - Sikkim, West Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, and Uttarakhand. India, on its part, states that it maintains ownership over Lipulekh, Kalapani, and Limpiyadhura and considers them part of its territory.

Before this, diplomatic ties between India and Nepal had strained when the latter "strongly objected" to constructing a road linking Kailash Mansarovar via Lipulekh in 2020. Nepal had sent India a diplomatic note to this effect, to which the MEA had responded, saying the road in question goes through Uttarakhand's Pithoragarh district, which "lies completely within the territory of India."

(With inputs from PTI and ANI)

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