India has asked Nepal to prevent its citizens from "illegally" visiting the Indian territories of Kalapani, Limpiyadhura, Lipulekh and Gunji, according to Nepal media reports quoted by news agency PTI. In a letter to the Nepali administration, Uttarakhand administration said that Nepalese people in groups wanting to illegally enter into these Indian regions would create problems for both the countries.
The Deputy District Commissioner, Dharchula, Pithoragarh district in Uttarakhand, Anil Shukla, in his letter dated July 14, also urged the Nepali authorities to share information with the Indian authorities about such activities, the Himalayan Times reported. "We have received a letter and phone call regarding India's decision to prohibit Nepalis from crossing into the territories, Sharad Kumar Pokhrel, Chief District Officer of Darchula, Nepal, was quoted as saying by the paper.
The region has always been a point of contention between the two countries. Recent developments, starting with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurating a 80-km-long strategically crucial road and Nepal's protests, placed the relations between the two countries at its lowest ebb in recent years. Nepal had also recently completed the process of redrawing the country's political map through a Constitutional amendment, incorporating the three strategically important Indian areas that lie close to a geographically significant tri-junction with China (Tibet).
In its reply to Uttarakhand authorities, Nepal said that the movement of its citizens in Kalapani, Limpiyadhura and Gunji areas is "natural" as the regions belong to the country. "The movement of Nepalese nationals in these areas are natural," said the letter signed by Tek Singh Kunwar, Assistant District Administrator of Darchula, Nepal, according to media reports. The letter was sent to the Indian official following instructions from the Nepalese Home Ministry, according to Rising Nepal daily.
-Inputs from PTI