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India Nepal Territorial Conflict

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Nepal’s cabinet last week decided to put a map on its Rs. 100 currency note showing certain areas administered by India in Uttarakhand as part of its territory, provoking External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar to say that such “unilateral measures” by Kathmandu would not change the reality on the ground.

The territorial dispute is about a 372-sq-km area that includes Limpiyadhura, Lipulekh, and Kalapani at the India-Nepal-China trijunction in Uttarakhand’s Pithoragarh district. Nepal has claimed for long that these areas belong to it both historically and evidently.


  • 1743-1775— Prithvi Narayan Shah, a Gorkha leader unified Nepal. The legacy continued till 19th century. Present day Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand & Sikkim were annexed by Nepal.
  • 1814-1816— Anglo Nepalese war. Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand & Sikkim were ceded to British India. The Treaty of Sugauli was signed (It demarcated river Kali as the boundary between India and Nepal).

  • In 2020, KP Sharma Oli took the lead to build the consensus in Parliament for Nepal’s new map that formally included the 372 sq km in Uttarakhand, and pledged to bring it back.
    • India decried Nepal’s “cartographic aggression” as unacceptable, but said the issue would have to be sorted out through diplomatic channels, on the basis of evidence.
  • In 2024, Nepal’s cabinet last week decided to put a map on its Rs. 100 currency note.
    • The Nepali Congress, the major opposition & single largest party in the Parliament is yet to comment anything on the issue.
    • Chiranjeevi Nepal, economic advisor to President Ram Chandra Poudel and a former Governor of Rashtra Bank, Nepal’s central bank, has described the cabinet decision as “unwise” and “provocative”.


Bishwa Bandhu Thapa, a former Home Minister of Nepal said India’s Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru approached King Mahendra of Nepal asking for permission to use Kalapani, which was strategically located close to the trijunction, as a base for the Indian Army.

Dr Bhekh Bahadur Thapa, who served as Nepal’s Foreign Minister in 2005-06 and as Ambassador to India during 1997-2003, said that even though Indian officials claimed in bilateral talks later that King Mahendra gifted the area to India, the issue was never resolved.


  • Prime Minister I K Gujral (April 1997-March 1998) had promised to give up these areas if Nepal was able to produce evidence for its claim.
  • In July 2000, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee assured the visiting Nepal PM G P Koirala that India had no interest in even an inch of Nepali territory — however, the mechanism led by the two foreign secretaries did not make progress.
  • The visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Nepal in 2014 gave rise to hopes of a resolution of all contentious issues. He and his Nepali counterpart, Sushil Prasad Koirala, agreed to set up a boundary working group for speedy settlement of the border issue in Kalapani and Susta, a 145-sq-km area that had fallen on the Indian side after the River Gandak changed course.
  • After returning from India on June 3 last year, Nepal’s Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda claimed that Modi had assured him that the border issue would be sorted out at the earliest; however, there was no mention of this in the official statement at the end of the official visit.


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