New Kailash-Mansarovar road: Nepal may have raised issue at someone else’s behest, says Indian Army Chief

The Hindu (15 May 2020) – There is no “contradiction at all” in the new road constructed via Lipulekh pass up to the Line of Actual Control (LAC) to shorten travel time for Indian pilgrims going to Kailash-Mansarovar, and Nepal may have raised the issue “at the behest of someone else,” Army Chief Gen. Manoj Naravane said on Friday without naming any particular country. Nepal has strongly protested the new road and called on India to “refrain from carrying out any activity inside the territory of Nepal.”

“In fact, the Nepalese Ambassador has mentioned that the area east of the Kali river belongs to them. There is no dispute in that whatsoever. The road which we made is in fact to the west of the river. So, I don’t know what they are agitating about,” Gen. Naravane said speaking at a think tank organised on webinar. Stating there had never been any problems on this in the past, he said, “There is reason to believe that they might raised the issue at the behest of someone else and that is very much a possibility.”

Gen. Naravane further stated that “there are little issues as we go ahead as to exactly where the tri-junction [India-China-Nepal] should be.” He also stressed that these incidents and the face-offs that occurred last week in Eastern Ladakh and North Sikkim were not related.

The new 80-km road built by the Border Roads Organisation from Ghatibagarh in Uttarakhand to Lipulekh just five km short of the LAC was formally inaugurated by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh last week and significantly reduces travel time and makes travel easier for Indian pilgrims going to Kailash-Mansarovar. The road was made under directions of the China Study Group and is funded from Indo-China Border Roads.

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