Guarding Indo-Nepal Border

Guarding Indo-Nepal border 

BY  BUDDHI  NARAYAN  SHRESTHA 


India has deployed special services bureau (SSB) para-military force along Indo-Nepal border. The main purpose of this deputation is to protect the borderline and to observe in border area. There may be a question: Indian SSB personnel protects Indo-Nepal border; but who will protect the Nepal-India border, though the borderline is common to both nations!

 

Planning to deploy SSB


India had been deputing border security force (BSF) to the neighbouring countries;
Bangladesh,
Pakistan and
Nepal. But
India decided to deploy SSB in place of BSF along the border with
Nepal from Balmikinagar to Jogbani from July 20, 2001 (Kantipur Daily, July 15, 2001). But this was not materialized due to insufficient time for managing the battalion.

 

Meanwhile Indian Embassy, Kathmandu released a press statement on September 24, 2001 that India will deploy ten thousand SSB personnel along Indo-Nepal border by January 2002 with a view to strengthen the international border security. Eventually, this programme had been postponed due to attack on parliament building in
New Delhi on December 13, 2001.

 

Deployment of SSB


India started deploying ten thousand SSB personnel along Indo-Nepal border from May 1, 2002. In the first phase, it was stretched adjacent to Kapilbastu, Rupandehi and Nawalparasi districts of
Nepal. (Kantipur Daily, May 4, 2002). Initially, check-posts with security tower were established at a distance of 150 meter away inside the borderline. But later, some of the SSB Camps have been constructed on no-man’s land. It is notable that SSB force has been placed directly under the central government of
India. They are vigilant, active and prompt.

 

In due course of time, deployment of SSB para-military force increased to 25 thousand at the beginning of 2004. After that, the area of observations has been expanded up to
West Bengal and
Sikkim to the east and Uttaranchal (Kalapani area of
Nepal) to the north-west.

 

Meanwhile, Reuters reported that
India has doubled its troops in the Indo-Nepal border ‘to stop the deadly Maoist insurgency in the Himalayan kingdom from spilling over.’ The number of troops guarding the border is now expected to rise to around 45 thousand (Himalayan Times Daily, October 17, 2005). 

 

Security Segments

In the context of increasing Maoist rebellion movement in
Nepal,
India has categorized Indo-Nepal borderline of 1,808 km on three segments; such as security sensitive, under observation and normal.

 

The security sensitive segment falls on 9 districts of
Nepal covering from Dadeldhura to Nwalparasi and it has 725 km in length. In the same way, under observation segment is elongated in 13 districts from Chitawon to Ilam and it covers 780 km. The last, normal segment covers 4 districts, north of Ilam and north of Dadeldhura and it is 303 km in length. Very recently, few km of Jhapa, Ilam and Darchula have been converted to security sensitive sector.

 

In the security sensitive segment,
India has constructed one check-post in every 4 km on average. And they have deployed 160 SSB on average in one check-post. It makes 40 SSB personnel at a distance of one km. It indicates that there are 181 check-posts in 9 districts that cover 725 km.

 

In the under observation segment, there is one check-post in every 6 km and 140 SSB are residing in one check-post. And the figure comes as 24 SSB in one km. There are 130 check-posts along 780 km covering 13 districts of
Nepal.

 

Normal segment has one check-post at a distance of 15 km and 160 SSB have been deputed in one check-post. And it calculates as 11 SSB personnel in one km on average. As such, 20 check-posts have been established along 303 km of 4 districts. 

 

In summary, above mentioned figure shows that
India has established one security check-post in every 5 km and deputed 25 SSB personnel in one km on average. It means one SSB stands in every 40 meter of distance in Indo-Nepal borderline.

 

Reason of deployment

General people would like to know why
India has deployed SSB force so densely along the border with
Nepal. As an answer to this query, Indian home minister Shivraj Patel has said on 27 March last year that the deployment of para-military SSB on the border of
Nepal and
Bhutan has checked activities by subversive, militant and fundamentalist elements. In the same way, the then Indian Ambassador to Nepal Shyam Saran has said on July 9, 2004:
India has deployed the SSB on the border to control cross-border arms and explosive smuggling.

 

On top of this,
India is aware that top-level Nepali Maoist leaders are sneaking across the porous border. They are training local Indian Maoists to handle explosives with the latest devices. At the same time,
India has managed to use CID dogs after six-month basic training, along Indo-Nepal border from January this year to stop illegal transportation of explosive materials. So Nepali Maoists in
India is more or less going to be a kind of headache to
India in one sense. In other sense, Maoists use to be hiding in
India and they cross the open border to make disruption in
Nepal. Sometimes they create terror with their Indian fellow Maoists in Indian soil as well. So Indian is feeling their territory has been affected by the increasing Nepali Maoist rebellion activities. 

 

Face to face army men

It seems that
India has deployed SSB force in order to check and control the infiltration of Nepali Maoist rebellions, unwanted elements and criminals. In such a situation what
Nepal should be done. Should
Nepal also deploy armed police force (APF) face to face at the border with Indian SSB para-military force?

 

As there is an old saying that ‘two lions cannot exist in one jungle.’ If there are two loins in one territory, they will quarrel and fight each other. As a result, one will be either killed or fled with injury; and the other will be the king of jungle. The same example could be applied to the military forces, if deployed face to face on both the sides of no-man’s land of the border. To avoid this type of neck to neck circumstances, introduction of ID cards in the border crossing-points or fencing the frontier with necessary exit / entry points will be the pragmatic solution to maintain peace and security for the people of both nations.

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