According to a media report on Tuesday, Nepal has halted the distribution of a new textbook that includes the revised political map of Nepal, including three strategically important Indian areas as a part of its own country. Nepal has reportedly said that there were a number of actual errors in it and so the distribution is being stopped. India has already declared the territorial claim by Nepal as “artificial enlargement” after the Parliament of Nepal unanimously approved the new political map featuring Lipulekh, Kalapani, and Limpiyadhura areas.
The Ministry of Education cannot change maps
A cabinet meeting on Tuesday instructed the Ministry of Education to stop printing and distributing any more copies of the textbooks having the revised political map of Nepal. Earlier, these books were to be a part of the curriculum of classes 9 to 12. The Kathmandu Post reported that this halt comes after the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Land Management and Cooperatives project some reservations.
Janak Raj Joshi, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Land Reform and Cooperatives, said, “The Ministry of Education does not have the authority to change Nepal’s geographical area, and there are faults in the book.” He added that there are factual errors in the book as the Ministry of Education has taken on a subject it has no expertise in and has been asked to take corrective measures.
The cabinet had earlier endorsed the new map
The concerned authorities of Nepal are yet to announce the geographical area of the country officially. Joshi said, “The Department of Survey, which is the official agency that declares the total area of the country, however, hasn’t made any decision on the area.” Earlier, Education Minister Giriraj Mani Pokharel, on September 15, released a 110-page book titled, ‘Self Study Material on Nepal’s Territory and Border’ which talks of the historical facts but the country’s territory and its border conflicts with India. The book states that Nepal’s new area is to be 147,641.28 sq. km. including the 460.28 sq. km. of the Kalapani area.
The Minister for Education, Pokharel, had also written a six-page preface for the book in which he mentioned that there is a campaign to protect the Nepalese territory including three regions of India. However, Pokharel has also told The Kathmandu Post that the distribution of the book has been halted for now. Nepal had released the new political and administrative map in May, showing three Indian territories as its part, and the cabinet had endorsed it by declaring to use it in offices and school textbooks. Following the endorsement by the cabinet of Nepal, the government spokesperson, and Finance Minister of Nepal, Yuvaraj Khatiwada had said that they would update the schedule of the constitution and the school curriculum, including the new map.
India had already made its position clear in this topic when the Ministry of External Affairs said, “This artificial enlargement of claims is not based on historical facts or evidence and is not tenable. It is also violative of our current understanding to hold talks on outstanding boundary issues.” India-Nepal relationships came under strain after the Defence Minister of India, Rajnath Singh, inaugurated an 80-km-long strategically crucial road in Uttarakhand on May 8, connecting the Lipulekh pass with Dharchula. Nepal strongly reacted against this construction and asserted that it passed through Nepalese territory.
What does the Policy times suggest?
- Amidst the global pandemic, India had border conflicts with three of its major neighboring countries, and it is not going to yield good results in the future if these conflicts are not resolved.
- India also needs to assert control over its border areas by establishing its extent firmly.
- There are several attempts from the Indian Territory, too, to instigate the neighbors. Such acts should be condemned from within the country.