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Nepal Withdraws Controversial Textbook

Nepal Withdraws Controversial Textbook


Venkatesh Iyer

NEW DELHI, Oct 10: Nearly a month after introducing it, Nepal has withdrawn a controversial school textbook that included a contentious map of border areas with India that it earlier showed as part of its territory in its political map.

The three strategically significant Indian areas Limpiyadhura, Lipulekh, Kalapani in Uttarakhand were exhibited as part of Nepal’s territory in the book launched on September 15.

The Nepal prime minister K P Sharma Oli directed the education ministry to prevent the distribution of the 110-page Nepali Language book ‘Nepalko Bhubhaag Ra Seemasambandhi Swadhyay Samagri ‘a Self Study Material on Nepal’s Territory and Border’.

The book included a chapter on the campaign to reclaim disputed territory with India. The new books for high school students (9th and 12th classes) have a preface written by Giriraj Mani Pokharel education minister.

The move is seen as a placatory step by the Oli Government and viewed as an attempt to avoid further damage to relations with India and also seen as a hostile move against China in the light of alleged Chinese encroachment in the municipal areas of Nakha Gupalika, Humla District, Nepal.

Rajan Bhattarai, the Prime Minister’s foreign affairs advisor in a discussion, with Nikkei Asia, Japan said  the recently extended warmth are part of efforts to mend the relationship with India. “We want to maintain good relations with India based on mutual respect and equality. India and Nepal have divergent views on some issues including the territory of Kalapani along Nepal’s north-western frontier, which has remained a matter of dispute,” he said.

During May, Nepal cabinet had approved the new political and administrative map of the country staking claim over the three areas more than six months after India published a fresh map in November 2019.