Tanakpur Barrage

Tanakpur Barrage and its structure

constructed by India

consists of 222 hectares of Nepali territory

Interview by Everest Times (Published from London)

Year-6, Issue-27 : March 18, 2014

Everest Times

 

Cartoon Gallery on border issues

     Cartoon Gallery on the border issues

I have borrowed the cartoons from various newspapers and magazines. I have added the headings and caption on the top and down sides of the cartoon. I have mentioned the source of the cartoons.

101The embrace of both the head of governments is warm. But it seems that the relation is rather cold on the border issue. During the sideline meeting in Colombo SAARC Conference on 26 July 1998, Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala talked to the Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. After returning to Kathmandu, PM Koirala narrated to the Nepali media persons ‘I talked to the Indian PM that there are proofs of historical maps and document which tells ‘Kalapani belongs to Nepal.’ I cannot say that it was the positive achievement, but I guess Vajpayee understood well what I wanted to tell him.’ So the issue of Kalapani tends to reach at the prime ministerial level, but the issue comes down to the lowest level of administration without any decision.
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102

India is a good neighbour of Nepal, but it seems that intention is rather bad. Kalapani-Limpiyadhura of Darchula district has been encroached by India, just after the end of Indo-China border war of 1962. The Nepali territory is being occupied imprudently by India, who cares whatever the rest of the world says. The lean and thin prime minister of Nepal seems to be unoffending with the shameless counter-part.
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103People are sensitive on the Kalapani border issue. They go to the political leader asking for the solution of the problem. Nepali political leader is lethargic and his advisor is not well qualified. The advisor is presenting advice to the leader ‘Tell the people that India must go back from Kalapani, as we have proofs. Why do you get afraid ? Later on, we shall not produce documentary proof, when we talk with India.’
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104Susta of Nawalparasi district has been encroached by India since more than fifty years. But India is never realizing that Nepali territory has been encroached. Nepali people are astonished with the behaviour of the Indian authorities.
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105One political leader regards him superior to other leaders. They are fighting themselves each others. But India is encroaching Nepali territory, as a mouse excavates the soil and makes holes in so many places.
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106There is a good relation between Nepal and India. But India shows the utmost insanity. India is chasing the Nepali farmers of Susta as similar as the demented bull chases the down running deer.
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107

. Nepal land border is going to be turned into water boundary. Nepali frontier is getting inundated due to the construction of barrages, embankments and structures by India; just close to the borderline and No-man’s Land. The Masonry Junge Boundary Pillar is going to be submerged. We should not get the pillar tumbled down. If the Junge Pillar is intact, our descendants will protect our boundary.
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108

In connection to the writing of new constitution, Madhes based political parties are demanding one single Federal State for the whole of Tarai plain on the issue of State Restructuring and delineating various States in relation to Federalism. They are making slogan that if there is no ‘One Madhes’ there will be ‘No Nepal.’ General people are thinking, if one Madhes is formed, there is a possibility to form also ‘One Bhot Pradesh.’
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109

Our leaders are passive on the issue of Susta Encroachment by India. They think if they raise the voice of Susta issue with their counterparts, they will be tumble down from their post. So they don’t want to hear on the Susta issue.
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110New constitution writing elapsed four years without finalizing some of the issues raised in the Constitution Assembly Meetings. The issue of ‘One Madhesh One Federal State’ was one of them. The political parties could not reach into conclusion on this matter. And the Constitution Assembly was dissolved pre-maturely some hours before the completion of its time period.
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Unquiet Border between Pakistan and India

Look Nepal 2014

India’s official position is that Kashmir belongs to India. Whereas Pakistan’s official position is that Kashmir is a disputed territory whose final status must be determined by the people of Kashmir. Islamabad has always maintained that majority Muslim Kashmir should have been a part of Pakistan. A United Nations resolution adopted after the first war called for a referendum allowing the people of Kashmir to choose which country they wanted to join. But that vote for self-determination has never been held. Pakistan wants that referendum should take place. It is interesting that neither country wants Kashmir to become an independent nation as it is a small part of the earth. With this view, attempts to solve the conflict through political discussions were unsuccessful.

In the context of these conflicts and disputes, India and Pakistan have fought numerous armed conflicts with each other since their creation following the end of the British Raj and the subsequent partition of India in August 1947. The two South Asian nations have been involved in three major wars, one undeclared war and numerous border skirmishes and military standoffs. The Kashmir dispute is the major one and it has been the root cause of all major conflicts between the two countries with the exception of the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, where the dispute concerned the erstwhile East Pakistan.

India and Pakistan have fought at least three wars over Kashmir, as it is mainly called Indo-Pakistan Wars of 1965, 1971 and 1999 as followings. Much of the war was fought by land forces in Kashmir along the international border between Pakistan and India.

The Indo-Pakistan War of 1965 was a culmination of skirmishes that took place between April and September 1965. It was fought over the disputed border region of Kashmir. The five-week war caused the loss of 3,000 Indians and 3,800 Pakistanis. It ended in a United Nations mandated ceasefire and the subsequent Taskent Declaration (wikipedia.org/wiki/Indo-Pakistan_War).

The War of 1971 was a military conflict between two countries during the period between 3 to 16 December. It was closely associated with the brewing in erstwhile East Pakistan culminating in the declaration of independence as Bangladesh from the state system of Pakistan. This war saw the highest number of fatalities of 3,813 Indians and 9,000 Pakistanis. After 14 days of armed hostilities, the war ended with the creation of Bangladesh.

Indo-Pakistan War of 1999 is known as Kargil Conflict. It was an armed conflict that took place between May and July 1999 in the Kargil district of Kashmir and along the LoC. The cause of the war was accused as the infiltration, blaming each other by both the sides, violating the de-facto border between the two states. This was one of the recent examples of high altitude warfare in mountainous terrain. The loss was somehow less in comparison to the past wars. The number of fatalities was 527 Indians and 453 Pakistanis. The war was ended with international support to force to withdraw the forces along the LoC. All these skirmishes and wars and tension along the LoC show that Indo-Pakistan border is unquiet. It has affected the general people of both the frontiers of LoC.

The unquiet border issue should be resolved amicably with a spirit of brotherhood, free and frank manner and reciprocity and justice. As the past approaches reflect that the leadership in Pakistan and of the Kashmir with a positive and flexible approach has put forth several proposals to resolve the dispute. But it seems that India has not responded well to reciprocate. According to the partition Plan of India in 1947, the accession of the State of Jammu & Kashmir, either with India or Pakistan, was to be decided in the light of its people’s wishes and the geographic contiguity of that area.

A free and fair plebiscite under international auspices as per United Nations Resolution should be conducted to determine the will of the people of that region. Mahatma Gandhi had once said ‘If the people of Kashmir are in favour of opting for Pakistan, no power on earth can stop them from doing so. They should be left free to decide for themselves. (Complete Works of Mahatma Gandhi (1947), page 413, speech at Prayer Meeting, 26 October 1947).

Most recently, Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif has invited India to come into dialogue mentioning that Pakistan is committed to resolve all the existing disputes including Jammu & Kashmir through the dialogue. Nawaz Sharif on February 5, 2014 said India should accept Kashmiri’s right to self-determination, and he invited it to resolve the issue peacefully through dialogue. Addressing a joint sitting of the Azad Jammu and Kashmir Assembly and Kashmir Council on Kashmir Solidarity Day in Muzaffarabad, the prime minister said his government was ready to discuss all outstanding issues with India, including Kashmir. He invited India to engage in a ‘comprehensive sustained and result-oriented dialogue process.’ Sharif stressed that the region will remain in the grip of “mistrust and tension” as long as the Kashmir dispute is not resolved in accordance with the aspirations of the Kashmiri people.

The Prime Minister of Pakistan said, unless the Kashmir issue was resolved, there would be uncertainty in the region. He hoped India would respond positively to this invitation for a dialogue and fulfill the Kashmiri people’s aspirations to decide their fate. Fundamental rights and self-determination needed to be enforced, the Prime Minister said, adding the struggle of the Kashmiris was a reaction to the ‘atrocities’ committed by Indian security agencies (The Hindu, Islamabad, February 5, 2014).

            The most important matter is that India must reciprocate and come into dialogue for the peaceful settlement on Kashmir issue with justifiable manner.

Note: It should be read continuously after the scanned first page of the article.

     

Experiencing Nepal-China (Kodari-Khasa) border crossing

Experiencing Nepal-China border crossing at Kodari-Khasa

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            Nepal and China had entered into an ‘Agreement on Trade and other Related Matters between the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) of China and Nepal’ on Sept. 30, 1956 which was renewed last time on July 10, 2002. The agreement says, those who wish to travel to the other country shall hold valid passports issued by the sending country and visa issued by the receiving country. Inhabitants of the border districts shall hold exit-entry passes with photo affixed ID Cards for the purpose of border trade, pilgrimage and visiting relatives and friends. But they are not allowed to go beyond the border districts into the interior of the other country. Generally the limit is 30 km from the borderline. Those with certificates for pilgrimage can travel through the designated routes and allotted entry points. They are not permitted to stay in the border districts of the receiving country for more than a month. Either party has the right to refuge entry into its territory of any persona non-grata.

            All these points denote that there is a regulated border management system between Nepal and China. It means those who want to cross the border must produce valid passport and visa. But for the inhabitants of the border districts within 30 kilometer distance, identity card is sufficient. However, ID card was not necessary before 1 January 2006.

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            Any inhabitant of the bordering district who want to cross the Nepal-China (Tibet) and vice versa have to produce an authentic Identity Card compulsorily and those falling to comply with the rule will not be allowed to cross the border. The government officer, assigned by the Chief District Officer (CDO), provides ID cards to those who show the official identity card or citizenship certificate or other cards provided by the government. The ID card system was introduced as per the agreement reached at the ministerial level meeting of the two countries after the King’s visit to China in 2002.

            This new rule was enforced from 1 January 2006. Card distribution function was inaugurated by the Rastriya Prajatantra Party President Pashupati Sumsher JB Rana, as a chief guest of the programme. After the inauguration programme, Rana was heading for Ramike Bazar at Litin of Tibet’s border area. But he was stopped by the Chinese police without any consideration for his ID card. Rana was issued ID Card Number-1 signed by Chief of the Tatopani Immigration Officer Kamal Raj Yogi. But Rana was prevented from entering Tibet although he had been issued the necessary ID card for getting an entry permit to Tibet. Infuriated Rana turned back when he was not given an entry permit by the Chinese police even after showing his card. The incident occurred on the very first day of the introduction of the ID card system on the Kodari-Khasa of China (Tibet)-Nepal border. Most probably the program organizing committee had not informed to the Chinese immigration office that the chief guest of the program is visiting on the other side of the border.

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           However it may be, the people living near to the border areas can visit and run businesses in either countries by producing valid identity cards. After the implementation of identity card system, visa is not necessary for the residents of Taplejung, Sankhuwasabha, Solukhumbu, Dolakha, Sindhupalchok, Rasuwa, Dhading, Gorkha, Manang, Mustang, Dolpa, Mugu, Humla, Bajhang and Darchula, They are visiting the nearby areas of Tibet without producing visas. Besides, inhabitants of Kathmandu Valley are also visiting Khasa (Zhangmu), the commercial town of China border with the ID card.

          This scribe including my wife and relatives visited Khasa of China, crossing Tatopani and Kodari border on 1st February 2014. Infrastructure of the immigration office on the Chinese side was up-to-date as it was like any of the developed countries. We were on the line to submit the immigration permit brought from the Nepali immigration side with our original citizenship certificate. My wife and one of my relatives had the old type of citizenship certificates (on plain Nepali paper), not as the card format. Chinese immigration officer was about to stop them. But one official from Tatopani immigration office was with us. The Nepali official took guarantee for my wife and relative that they will come back from Khasa, and it was permitted to cross the border. The Chinese official stamped the Entry Mark on the immigration paper and told my wife and relative-  ‘Next time new citizenship certificate.’

            While we were making immigration permit at Tatopani office, the official had already told me that the Chinese official may not permit with this old type of citizenship certificate. So they were kind to us and joined one of the immigration officials and one armed police with uniform and one Sub-Inspector in plain cloth. They accompanied and escorted us up to the border crossing point and taxi stand. They managed one taxi cab for us with a reasonable fare to drive to Khasa town and they returned back to Tatopani. It was possible that Armed Police DSP Arjun Thapa recognized me as a Border Researcher, as I was talking with the security personnel at Nepal immigration office. Thanks god.

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          We returned back from Khasa town to the border crossing point. The same procedure was followed to show the permit paper and citizenship certificate. Chinese immigration official stamped the Exit Mark on the immigration paper and then we crossed the borderline. There was a red border line in the center of the Friendship Bridge on the Bhote Koshi River. We crossed the red border line and came to the Nepali side of the bridge. While we were taking some photographs on the bridge on the Nepali side, a Chinese police threw a piece of stone to our side and cried, not to take pictures.

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          After that we took some other pictures of the Nepali immigration gate. But there was no such systematic system in the Nepali side as the other side of the border. Anyway, we travelled to Khasa China Tibet via Tatopani and Kodari of Nepal. We travelled all the way from Kathmandu to Bhaktapur, Sanga, Banepa, Dhulikhel, Pachkhal, Dolalghat, Balephi, Khadichaur, Lamosangu, Barabise, Phulpin, Tatopani, Kodari and finally crossing the border to Khasa town of China.

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              ♣

Need to update JICA funded topographic maps

Milan Article 70-11-30

Fighting of Maps on the Border

Fighting of maps on the border

          Joint Working Group meeting of Nepal-India Technical Level Joint Boundary Committee was held in Kathmandu from 2 to 7 July 1997. In the meeting Nepal produced the map of 1856 prepared by Survey of India to Indian team as the proof that Kalapani belongs to Nepal. Nepali Group said, Kalapani belongs to Nepal as the map depicts. But Indian Group did not respond regarding the Kalapani border issue. Indian team did not accept even to discuss on the Kalapani matter.

          In course of time, the next meeting of Joint Working Group was held in Kathmandu again on 22 January 1998. In this meeting there was a war of maps concerning Kalapani border issue. Nepali side said, the Survey of India maps of 1850 and 1856 have demarcated the Kalapani within Nepali territory. The Kalapani disputed issue should be resolved on the basis of these maps. In the mean time Nepal challenged that nobody has the rights to change the boundary line in lieu of these maps.

          Indian side responded that these maps have not been prepared scientifically. These maps are irrelevant and unscientific as there are no control points on these points. So India is not in a position to accept that maps. In addition, Indian side proposed that map of 1879 should be regarded as the authoritative map and Kalapani issue should be resolved on the basis of that map. It has to be agreed on this map.

          During the discussion Nepal produced a counter and said, there is written nothing on that map of 1879 regarding any point of initial agreement. So this map cannot be regarded as the authentic map. Nepal is not a position to agree on this map. Nepali side further pleaded, on this map the boundary line has been depicted by symbol on the watershed crest, south of Pankhagad Khola lower than Kalapani. On that map Kalapani has been shown on the Indian side. According to the Treaty of Sugauli, the western boundary of Nepal must be the River Kalee, but not the watershed crest. With this fact, Nepal is not in favour of that map to be regarded as the authoritative map.

          In such a fashion there was a kind of fighting between the maps of 1856 and 1879 (Nepal and India) regarding the western boundary of Nepal. So the issue of Kalapani has been stranded till this date.  

Greater Nepal weekly 70-11-16 

 

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