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May 4, 2024

Nepal’s Controversial Move: New Rs 100 Currency Note Features Disputed Indian Territories

Nepal has stirred diplomatic tensions with India by announcing the introduction of a new Rs 100 currency note featuring disputed territories. The move includes the inclusion of Lipulekh, Limpiyadhura, and Kalapani, areas contested by India. This decision, made in a meeting chaired by Nepali Prime Minister Pushpakamal Dahal Prachanda, has ignited a fresh wave of disagreement between the two neighboring countries.

Government spokesperson Rekha Sharma disclosed during a briefing that the decision to incorporate the controversial territories into the new map of Nepal was prompted by a proposal from the Nepal Rastra Bank. Sharma, who also holds the portfolio of communication, information, & technology, stated that the redesign, with the updated map, received approval in meetings held on April 25 and May 2.

“The government has authorized the Nepal Rastra Bank to replace the current map with the updated version on the currency note,” Sharma conveyed in a telephonic conversation with ANI.

This move further escalates the ongoing dispute over the territories of Lipulekh, Kalapani, and Limpiyadhura. The roots of this dispute trace back to India’s inclusion of these areas in its November 2019 map. Nepal responded by issuing its own political map in May 2020, asserting sovereignty over the same territories.

Diplomatic tensions peaked when Nepal objected to India’s inauguration of a road linking Kailash Mansarovar via Lipulekh on May 8, 2020. India’s Ministry of External Affairs retorted, asserting that the road fell within Indian territory, specifically Uttarakhand’s Pithoragarh district.

Nepal’s claim over these territories is based on the Sugauli Treaty of 1816, which delineated the boundary line of Nepal after the Anglo-Nepalese War of 1814–16. According to Nepal, all territories east of the Kali (Mahakali) river, including Limpiyadhura, Kalapani, and Lipulekh, belong to Nepal. However, India argues that the 1950 Treaty of Peace and Friendship between India and Nepal annulled the Sugauli Treaty.

Nepal, on the other hand, points to treaties such as the 1923 Nepal–Britain Treaty of Friendship, which reaffirmed its sovereignty during the British colonial era. These conflicting interpretations of historical treaties have fueled the ongoing diplomatic dispute.

The decision to feature these disputed territories on the new currency note is likely to exacerbate tensions between Nepal and India, already strained by historical and territorial disagreements. It remains to be seen how this move will impact the diplomatic relations between the two countries in the long run.

Jhumpa Lahiri

Jhumpa Lahiri

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