Nepal issues a new map claiming contested territories with India as its own

Nepalese protesters stage a demonstration on Saturday, May 9 during lockdown in Kathmandu, against a new link road to Lipulekh, a disputed territory between India and Nepal.

(CNN)Nepal has issued a new national map incorporating areas also claimed by neighboring India, prompting fierce criticism from New Delhi.

At issue is about 300 square kilometers (115 square miles) of mountainous land incorporating Lipulekh, Limpiyadhura and Kalapani. Nepal's new map locates the small stretch of disputed land within its northwest border, between China and India.
The cartographic dispute is based on differing interpretations of treaty signed by the British East India Company with the King of Nepal in 1816, which established the boundary between the two countries. Though both sides have long claimed the territory as their own, Wednesday marked the first time Nepal issued a map including the disputed area. India already includes the contested area in its own official map.
    The dispute was reignited on May 8, when Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh virtually inaugurated a newly built 80-kilometer (50-mile) road connecting India's Dharchula to Tibetan autonomous region via the Lipulekh pass, which is part of the contested area.
    India expects the route to facilitate trade and the movement of Hindu pilgrims to Mansoravar lake in Chinese-administered Tibet, which is considered auspicious.
    But hundreds of angry Nepali protesters took to the streets across Nepal opposing the Indian inauguration, burning Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's effigy and called it a violation of their territorial sovereignty.
    Nepal responded quickly. On May 9, its foreign ministry issued a statement asking India to "refrain from carrying out any activity inside the territory of Nepal."
    India responded, saying that the inaugurated road section lies "completely" within its territory, and that the two countries would discuss it after the worst of the coronavirus pandemic had passed. "Both sides are also in the process of scheduling Foreign Secretary level talks which will be held once the dates are finalized between the two sides after the two societies and governments have successfully dealt with the challenge of Covid-19 emergency," the Indian foreign ministry said in a statement.