KATHMANDU: Nepal on Saturday raised objection over India inaugurating a strategically crucial link road connecting the Lipulekh pass at a height of 17,000 feet along the border with China in Uttarakhand with Dharchula, saying this "unilateral act" runs against the understanding reached between the two countries on resolving the border issues. The 80-Km new road inaugurated by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday is expected to help pilgrims visiting Kailash-Mansarovar in Tibet in China as it is around 90 kms from the Lipulekh pass. The Kailash-Mansarovar yatra involves trekking at high altitudes of up to 19,500 feet, under inhospitable conditions, including extreme weather and rugged terrain. Raising objection on the construction of the link road, Nepal's Foreign Ministry said, "This unilateral act runs against the understanding reached between the two countries including at the level of the Prime Ministers that a solution to boundary issues would be sought through negotiation." It said that Nepal had expressed its disagreement in 2015 also through separate diplomatic notes addressed to the governments of both India and China when the two sides agreed to include Lipulekh pass as a bilateral trade route without Nepal's consent in the Joint Statement issued on May 5, 2015 during the official visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to China. "With this in mind, the Government of Nepal has proposed twice the dates for holding a meeting of the Foreign Secretaries of the two countries, as mandated by their leaders, for which the response from the Indian side is still awaited," it said. "The Government of Nepal remains committed to seeking diplomatic solutions to boundary issues on the basis of the historical treaty, documents, facts and maps in keeping with the spirit of close and friendly ties between the two countries," the ministry said. The ministry has also noted that the reports prepared by Nepal - India Eminent Persons Group (EPG) formed with a mandate to recommend measures and institutional framework with a view to elevating the existing relations, if implemented, will pave way to address outstanding issues left by the history. Meanwhile, Nepal Police on Saturday detained dozens of youths and students as they held a demonstration near the Indian Embassy here to protest the inauguration of the link road. The construction of the road began in 2008 and was scheduled to be completed in 2013, but it got delayed due to the tough terrain in the portion between Nazang to Bundi village.
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