Govt committed to protecting borders, PM tells Parliament

Kathmandu, June 26

Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli today said the government would do its bit to protect the country’s borders and territorial integrity.

Furnishing his answer to a question raised by Nepali Congress lawmaker Dilendra Prasad Badu on whether Nepal had raised the issue of Lipulekh — a tri-junction boundary point between Nepal, India and China — with the Chinese side during Oli’s recent visit to Beijing, the prime minister told the Parliament that there would be no transaction related to Nepal’s borders and land on any pretext.

India and China had agreed in 2015 to expand border trade at Lipulekh, a far western point of Nepal near Kalapani, a disputed border area between Nepal and India. The agreement, reached without Nepal’s consent, had resulted in wide criticism and opposition in Nepal.

Without mentioning the word ‘Lipulekh’ in his answer, Oli said although Nepal was smaller than its two giant neighbours, it did not mean that Nepal had to concede while reaching agreements.

Oli, however, said there were many pending issues that needed proper fact-based study before they could be raised. “It is worthless to raise an issue without taking it to a conclusion,” said Oli during his address to the Parliament on his six-day official visit to China that concluded on Sunday.

On the Protocol to the Transit Transport Agreement that could not be signed during Oli’s China visit, the PM said his government was toppled right after the agreement was signed in 2016, and the succeeding government put things on the back burner.

“It takes time to revive an issue that has been put on the back burner. Discussions are on and it will be signed in July,” he said.

A total of 22 agreements and understandings — 13 at the government level and nine at the private-sector level — were signed during the visit, which Oli said helped broaden bilateral assistance and cooperation.

Reiterating that achievements of his China visit exceeded objectives, Oli said China’s pledge to extend support to Nepal’s endeavour for development and prosperity meant his China visit was ‘positive and helpful’.