Nepal’s decision to have New Currency Note with ‘disputed territory’ draws protest in India

Kathmandu, 5 May: The decision of Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ led government to have Nepal’s new map, generally referred as Chuchhe Naksa, printed in its one hundred rupees note has triggered a sharp response from the Indian government.

On Saturday, India’s External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar said at Bhubanedhwar that ‘Nepal’s move will not change the situation or the reality on the ground. ‘Our position is very clear. With Nepal, we are having discussions about our boundary matters through an established platform. In the middle of that, they unilaterally took some decisions on their side,’ Jaishankar told media persons.

The Indian response was anticipated as soon as the cabinet decision on Thursday was made public by Rekha Sharma, Minister for Communication and the government Spokesperson.

India Nepal relations had dipped a low in May 2020 soon after Nepal government and parliament, by consensus, brought out the new map including in it Lipulek, Kalapani and Limipadhura Claimed and controlled by India as well.

Unlike during decision on the new map, the current decision has been criticized in Nepal as ‘provocative’ and unwise by some diplomats and at least one ex-governor of the Rastra Bank. A member of the NRB board of directors is believed to have opposed the proposal but he was overruled by others including Governor Maha Prasad Adhikary.

Chiranjivee Nepal, a former governor of the NRB and currently the Economic Advisor to president Ram Chandra Poudel said, ‘the decision of the government has come at the most inappropriate time and way without thinking of its larger implications.’

‘Nepal being in dispute with India over a certain part of territory is one thing, but printing in the currency a map that is different from what the international bodies including two neighbours have recognised is unwise,’ Chiranjivee Nepal, he said.

Another former Governor said, ‘decision of the government was too provocative and uncalled for.’ More than 70 per  cent of Nepal’s external trade is with India and as a matter of practice Nepali and Indian currency are freely acceptable and exchangeable , especially along the open  border.

Although India and Nepal have not yet formally begun any dialogue after the publication of the map by Nepal, months after India did, Jaishankar said, yesterday that India is having discussions with Nepal on boundary matters through an ‘established platform.’