Kalapani - The Small Area In India Map - The new political map of India, recently released by the government to account for the bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir, has triggered fresh protests over an old issue in Kathmandu. The Nepal government described India’s decision as “unilateral” and claimed that it will “defend its international border”.

“KALA PANI” area: Kalapani is a territory disputed between India and Nepal, but under Indian administration as part of the Pithoragarh district in the Uttarakhand state. It is marked by the Kalapani River, one of the headwaters of the Kali River in the Himalayas at an altitude of 3600 meters. The valley of the Kalapani forms the Indian route to Kailash–Manasarovar, an ancient pilgrimage site. Kalapani lies at a tri-junction of India, China and Nepal. The trijunction of India–China–Nepal borders was on the dividing line of the Kali River watershed and Tinkar River watershed.

The Dispute:

  • Nepal laid claim to all the areas east of the Lipu Gad/Kalapani River. The Nepalese contention was that the Lipu Gad was in fact the "Kali River" up to its source. Nepal wanted the western border shifted 5.5 km westwards so as to include the Lipulekh Pass.
  • Nepali authorities claim that people living in the low-density area were included in the Census of Nepal until 58 years ago.
  • Earlier Five years ago, Foreign Minister of Nepal claimed that the late King Mahendra had “handed over the territory to India”.
  • Recently, a committee formed by the Nepal government to study this claim submitted a report to the Prime Minister Oli during his first tenure. It claimed that India had “occupied” an additional 62 sq km land.
  • Indian officials’ says that the administrative records dating back to 1830s show that the Kalapani area had been administered as part of the Pithoragarh district (then Almora district). India also denied the Nepalese contention that Lipu Gad was the Kali River. In the Indian view, the Kali River begins only after Lipu Gad is joined by other streams arising from the Kalapani springs. Therefore, the Indian border leaves the midstream of river near Kalapani and follows the high watershed of the streams that join it.
  • The 38 km⊃2; of area between the Lipu Gad/Kalapani River and the watershed of the river is the disputed Kalapani territory.

Cause of the dispute:

  • The Treaty of Sugauli signed by Nepal and British East India Company in 1816 defines the Kali River as Nepal's western boundary with India. However, what is meant by "Kali River" in the upper reaches is unclear because many mountain streams come to join and form the river.
  • From 1879 onwards, the survey maps show the stream that flows down from the Lipulekh Pass (called the Lipu Gad or Kalapani River) as the Kali River. This stream has served as the border between India and Nepal until India's independence.

Bilateral talks to resolve the dispute:

  • In 2000: The Prime Ministers of the two countries discussed the issue. India assured Nepal that India would not occupy even an inch of Nepal.
  • Aerial survey conducted: it was after Former PM Vajpayee assurance.
  • Five years ago, the matter was referred to a new mechanism comprising foreign secretaries of both sides.
  • Recently, India has reiterated its commitment to find a solution through dialogue in the spirit of close and friendly bilateral relations.

Additional Information:

Another major area of dispute between India and Nepal:

Susta: In eastern Susta, the Narayani river forms the Indian-Nepali border. But several large floods have re-shaped the river, causing a 14,500 hectare Indian encroachment into Nepal. Here, again, Nepalese are sensitive to the perceived threat to their sovereignty. According to reports, lands disputes among locals are usually won by Indian nationals who have the support of the armed Indian Border Police Force.

Susta is an area under territorial dispute currently in Tribenisusta, Lumbini Zone, Nepal and near Nichlaul, Uttar Pradesh, India. The area under dispute totals over 14,500 hectares (140 km2) and is controlled by Nepal.