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India, Nepal to hold senior level dialogue on Aug 17 after a nine-month hiatus

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New Delhi, Aug 12: Indian Ambassador Vinay Mohan Kwatra and Nepal''s Foreign Secretary Shanker Das Bairagi are scheduled to hold talks on August 17 in Kathmandu under a bilateral framework, in first major engagement since the ties came under strain after the Himalayan nation came up with a new political map in May.

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Official sources said the scheduled meeting between Kwatra and the Nepalese foreign secretary under an oversight mechanism is part of a regular interaction between India and Nepal.

"This oversight mechanism was set up in 2016 to review ongoing bilateral economic and development projects, and meets on a periodic basis," said a source.

The ties between the two countries came under strain after Defence Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated an 80-km-long strategically crucial road connecting the Lipulekh pass with Dharchula in Uttarakhand on May 8.

Nepal protested the inauguration of the road claiming that it passed through its territory. Days later, Nepal came out with the new map showing Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura as its territories.

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    In June, Nepal''s Parliament approved the new political map of the country featuring areas which India maintains belong to it.

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    In its reaction, after Nepal''s lower house of parliament approved the bill, India termed as untenable the "artificial enlargement" of territorial claims by the neighbouring country.

    India said Nepal''s action violates an understanding reached between the two countries to resolve the boundary issues through talks.

    Nepalese Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli has been asserting that Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura belong to Nepal and vowed to "reclaim" them from India.

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