Why is Nepal objecting to the connecting road for Kailash Mansarovar through Lipulekh Pass?, India

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Why is Nepal objecting to the connecting road for Kailash Mansarovar through Lipulekh Pass?

Nepal has voiced its dissent over India’s newly-inaugurated Link Road, that is connecting the road for Kailash Mansarovar through Lipulekh Pass. On Monday, the Nepal government expressed its disagreement and raised objections over the construction of the road in Uttarakhand that connects Lipulekh Pass along the border with China.

The new 80-km long road, at a height of 17000 ft above sea level, is supposed to be a shortcut to reach the Kailash Mansarovar in Tibet and will make it easier for devotees to reach the pilgrimage site nestled in the Himalayas.

The Nepal Foreign Ministry also tweeted regarding this.

The issue

The main issue is that Lipulekh Pass is considered a disputed border region by Nepal and both the countries claim it to be a part of their territory. India has always been clear on this and considers Lipulekh within the country borders. On Friday (May 8), the Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had inaugurated the new route to reach Kailash Mansarovar. Indians and Tibetans have been in border trade for quite some time now at the Lipulekh Pass and this new road links the pass to Dharchula, which is a town in Pithoragarh, Uttarakhand in India. Soon after the inauguration, Nepal raised an objection to the new route. As of now, the second stretch is being converted into a double lane road by the Border Roads Organisation. Till now, 76 km of the 80 km stretch, (that will cut down the travel time to two days by vehicles) is completed and the last 4 km stretch till Lipulekh Pass is expected to be completed by the end of 2020.

A statement released by the Ministry of Defence said, “The road originates from Ghatiabagarh and terminates at Lipulekh Pass, the gateway to Kailash-Mansarovar. In this 80-km road, the altitude rises from 6000 to 17060 ft. With the completion of this project, the arduous trek through treacherous, high-altitude terrain can now be avoided by the pilgrims of Kailash-Mansarovar”.

More about the shortcut road

Why is Nepal objecting to the connecting road for Kailash Mansarovar through Lipulekh Pass?

The new route via Uttarakhand will have three main stretches.

1) The first one is a 107.6 km long road from Pithoragarh to Tawaghat.
2) The second will be from Tawaghat to Ghatiabgarh on a 19.5 km single lane.
3) The third is the 80 km from Ghatiabgarh to Lipulekh Pass at the China border.

The Lipulekh stretch can be only covered on foot and almost takes five days to reach. Not only this, a number of accidents have happened on this road. Till now, Indian pilgrims could reach Kailash Mansarovar via three routes only, through Sikkim, Uttarakhand and Kathmandu (the capital city of Nepal).

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