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Kathmandu Mayor Balendra Shah cancels China visit over map row

Mayor Shah said that he had cancelled the visit after China on Monday released a new map in which the Limpiyadhura, Kalapani and Lipulekh areas -that Nepal considers its territories- were shown as part of India.
Last Updated 31 August 2023, 16:25 IST

Kathmandu Metropolitan City Mayor Balendra Shah on Thursday cancelled his scheduled visit to China, citing the northern neighbour's failure to acknowledge Nepal's new political map.

Shah was supposed to visit China to attend the concluding ceremony of a cultural festival being organised there.

In his social media post, Mayor Shah said that he had cancelled the visit after China on Monday released a new map in which the Limpiyadhura, Kalapani and Lipulekh areas -that Nepal considers its territories- were shown as part of India.

"We consider it a wrong step against our sensitivities to show Nepalese territory as India’s without asking Nepal,” Kathmandu Mayor said. “Therefore, as per my ethics, I have decided against going on a five-day trip at the invitation of China,” he said.

However, according to the Spokesperson of the Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC), Navin Manandhar, the visit was cancelled due to personal reasons.

Deputy Mayor Sunita Dangol had already returned from China after attending the event's opening ceremony.

Ties between India and Nepal came under severe strain after Kathmandu published a new political map in 2020 that showed three Indian territories -- Limpiyadhura, Kalapani and Lipulekh -- as part of Nepal.

In the same year, then-president Bidya Devi Bhandari signed a Constitution amendment bill to update the country's new political map, which incorporated three strategically important Indian areas, hours after the Parliament approved it.

India reacted sharply, calling it a "unilateral act" and cautioned Kathmandu that such "artificial enlargement" of territorial claims would not be acceptable to it.

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(Published 31 August 2023, 16:25 IST)

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