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Nepal-China Boundary : third joint inspection in the process

This article has been published in the Republica Daily, 16 July 2010, Page 10+11

Nepal-China Boundary

third  joint inspection in the process

Background

Nepal-China relations have always remained good and cordial during border consultations between the two countries.

This relationship has been marked by friendliness, mutual support, deep understanding, and appreciation of each other’s sovereignty, national integrity, and the principle of non-interference in the context of joint border demarcation, inspection, and periodic renewals of the boundary protocol.

Nepal and China share a long borderline, connected through snow-capped mountain peaks, narrow passes, smooth saddles, razor-sharp ridges, spurs, bridges, riverbeds and streams. The border crosses diverse terrains, such as mountains covered with snow, rich and dense native forests, varieties of rare flora and fauna, vast grasslands and pasturelands. It is not hard to see four seasons in one day of travel when passing along the said borderline.

The border between the two countries extends for 1,439 kilometers, having a total number of 99 pillars, and markers with 79 serial pillars. On the Chinese side, the common border reaches seven counties in the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR), from Drenthang Township of Dinggue County in Shigatse Prefecture to Purang County of Nagri Prefecture. And there are fifteen districts on the Nepali frontiers, from the Olangchungola township of Taplejung District in Mechi Zone to Tinkar village and Kalapani-Limpiyadhura of Darchula District in Mahakali Zone. The elevation of the borderline begins from 3,000m and reaches to 8,848 meters from the mean sea level (msl).

The third joint inspection committee of Nepal-China Boundary Committee has been working for completion since April 18, 2006.

Border business

When we look back at the border consultations between Nepal and China, the Sino-Nepal Boundary Agreement was formalized on March 21, 1960. Consequently, the Nepal-China Boundary Treaty was signed on October 5, 1961. Thereafter, border demarcation work with the erection of pillars and markers was completed by November 1962. However, the Nepal-China Joint Boundary Committee was formed on August 11, 1960 and joint field survey teams were deputed to the border areas from April 1961.

During border demarcation, there were disputes, controversies, claims, and counterclaims in 32 places, including the peak of Mt. Everest itself. But all the disputes were settled and resolved amicably with good understanding, traditional friendship, long-term cooperation, and mutual trust within less than one year. The issue of Sagarmatha (Everest) was settled at the prime ministerial level.

After the completion of the demarcation line, Nepal and China signed the Boundary Protocol on January 20, 1963. The length of the boundary between the two countries was determined as 1,111.47 kilometers with 79 serial boundary markers.

To renew the Boundary Protocol, the Nepal-China First Joint Inspection Committee was formed in May 1977 with a view to jointly inspect the condition of the boundary pillars and to repair and reconstruct damaged pillars, as needed. The inspection work was completed by October 1979. Thus, the second boundary protocol was signed on November 20, 1979 by the foreign ministers of both countries.

The alignment of the Nepal-China boundary line had been mentioned as 1,414.88 kilometers in this protocol. It is also mentioned that boundary markers #33, 37, and 38 were not erected during the initial boundary demarcation as well as in this joint inspection. At the same time, markers 57 and 62 were not found during the first joint inspection.

According to international boundary principle, protocol must be renewed within 10 to 15 years. So the second joint inspection committee was formed in January 1988, and the first session of the committee was held in Beijing during February 24-28 of the same year. Based on the first joint inspection, it successfully completed the second joint inspection in November 1988 in a friendly and cordial atmosphere. The third boundary protocol was signed on December 6, 1988 by the respective foreign ministers in Beijing in the presence of the then Prime Minister Li Peng.

The protocol mentions that the present round of joint inspection did not include boundary marker #77. But six damaged markers were reportedly repaired, and six other markers destroyed by floods were re-erected. Besides, pillar number 33 at the Chyangchumi Pass was erected this time which was, in fact, not established during the initial demarcation, and also at the first inspection in 1979. So far as marker numbers 37 and 38 were concerned, they were not erected this time, either. Markers 57 and 62 were not found during the second inspection. In the end, boundary maps on the scale 1:50,000 and sketch maps on 1:20,000 have been prepared, showing the alignment of the boundary line between various boundary markers.

Third inspection

The third joint inspection and border survey work started on April 18, 2006. The joint teams have inspected, repaired and maintained a total number of 99 pillars and markers. The most interesting work of this time has been to erect pillars #37 and 38 on the delineated position, which had been left pending. It filled the blanks left by the two previous joint surveys. Another important achievement of this inspection was the identification of border marker 57 and pillar number 62, which were not found during the first and second inspections.

During the third inspection, all the pillars and markers were measured, and each one’s location accurately confirmed with the help of advanced Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite technique. Exact coordinates to the nearest centimeter of all border markers have thus been established.

Simultaneously, 57 sheets of border maps on the scale 1:50,000 were prepared digitally by using Geographical Information System (GIS). This technology has been adopted to facilitate the implementation of joint survey works. Digital data have been created at various layers of the GIS, such as latitude, longitude, and height of the markers, contour terrains, water bodies, settlements, greenery, etc. Thereby, the total length of the boundary line between Nepal and China has been established at 1,439.18 kilometers, as it is measured digitally. In accordance with a joint agreement, China is responsible for the determination and mapping sections of the survey, while Nepal is responsible for its inspection and confirmation.

It is noticeable that the present joint inspection committee is working since April 2006 to this date. It is another fact that the crucial and initial border demarcation work was completed within two and a half years. Similarly, the first and second joint boundary inspections were completed in two and one-year periods respectively, and protocol duly signed.

The third joint committee is working for more than four years. But the work has not yet been completed to sign the Fourth Boundary Protocol. It has created a curiosity: why has the work been pending?

In regard to this curiosity, there may have been a couple of issues which have not yet been resolved. The first one may be the location of the presently found boundary markers 57 and 62. The second issue is the so called dual heights of Mount Sagarmatha.

As far as the height of Sagarmatha (Qomolongma, Everest) is concerned, China has proposed to mention it at 8,844.47 meters, as they have declared the height of Sagarmatha to have decreased by 3.53 meters. They established the new height in 2005, deducting the thickness of the ice on the top of Sagarmatha. But Nepal is neither willing to accept the lowered height, nor the new height of 8,850 meter determined in 1999 by America. During joint discussions, China proposed to mention on map two heights of a single peak, that of Sagarmatha, as the Chinese height (8,844m) without the thickness of ice, and the traditional Nepali height (8,848m) with ice. Regarding two heights of the same summit, Nepal may have been confused whether or not to accept the Chinese proposal. This is one of the reasons to have prolonged the joint boundary committee’s duration.

The second reason is concerned with the locations of the recently found boundary markers 57 and 62. As far as boundary marker #57 is concerned, it should have been on the tip of the snowy Korlangpari Himal at the height of 5,738 meters. But it is misplaced. According to the statement of delineation, this marker is engraved on the rock, 5.5 kilometers northwest of the boundary marker 58, and 7 kilometers northeastward, and then north by west, from marker #56.

Marker #57 is located 29 kilometers north of Lama Bagar in the Dolakha District in Nepal. There is a customs office, a police station, a post office, and a stupa at Lama Bagar. Tibetans use it to infiltrate into Nepal illegally from the northern parts of Lama Bagar. To reach marker #57 from Lama Bagar village, one has to first walk for two full days to the north along the Tama Koshi River and then one more day to follow the Lapchekhun Khola and Kidibu Khola, then cross the Lapche village. The track is very steep and difficult to walk on its rocky strata. There are two small glacial ponds on the Nepali frontier to the south of the tip of the Korlangpari Mountain.

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An important issue regarding the recently found marker #57 is that it is placed slightly inside Nepal, instead of what was previously presumed. The map, which was prepared during the previous inspections without depicting marker 57, shows the borderline slightly north of this marker. It is to be noted that if the borderline runs through this marker, there may be a question of some hectares of land located on the Nepali side, which is barren and steep, with no use. It may be said, however, that even a fraction of a hectare of land is no less important for the integrity of a nation. Concerning this issue, some of the daily newspapers published that there had arisen a debate when the missing pillar #57 was found on Nepali soil. According to the media, Nepal claimed that the marker was not established in an appropriate place. The Chinese side countered that it was not moved from its original position, that it was at the same point where it was originally established during demarcation in 1962.

This may be one of the reasons leading to the incomplete status of the remaining issue of the third joint inspection. However, the joint field survey team has submitted its field report, mentioning the GPS coordinates to the respective Ministries of Foreign Affairs in July 2009.

Regarding the location of pillar #62, it was found at the exact point on the Nangpa-La (Pass) during the third inspection. The pillar was covered by snow, and it was not detected previously. Due to the effects of global warming and climate change, the snow melted and the concrete pillar thus appeared this time. It is located on the boundary line as shown on the map. So there is no problem with it. The GPS data of this pillar has been established as well. Another commendable point worth mentioning is that it also established markers #37 and 38 which were not found during the last inspection in 1988.

Conclusion

The third joint boundary inspection between Nepal and China should be completed as soon as possible. The issue of the height of Sagarmatha should be resolved, adopting international norms and practices. In connection to the borderline to connect the recently found boundary marker 57, it must be based on the delineation and ground truth.

Technical skills must be used, and the issue should not be influenced by sentiments, simply because border demarcation and inspection is purely a technical job. To have the issue materialized, status should be given to the existing map, following the ridge to connect markers 57 to 56 and 58. Demarcation is based on delimitation. And it is already delimitated of this area. So, pillar number 57 should be constructed at the tip of the Korlangpari Mountain (5,738m) and the previous marker could be numbered as 57(1). To find a proper solution, both countries should act according to the spirit of the treaty and previous boundary protocols and prepared maps.

These issues should be resolved by higher authorities through diplomatic channels, since it is already forwarded from the technical level. It may not be any problem because there is a very good relationship, friendship, and mutual understanding between Nepal and China in all spheres of activities. With the perspective of mutual understanding, this type of minor border issue should be resolved in an amicable manner. On the background of friendship, the Fourth Boundary Protocol should be signed as soon as possible, sorting out the debatable items in due course.

The writer can be reached at bordernepal@gmail.com

Published on 2010-07-16 10:34:53

Indian State Minister Overrun Nepal Boundary

भारतीय मन्त्री थाहै नपाई नेपाली भूमिमा

२०६७ जेठ ८ (22 May 2010) को कुरा हो भारत उत्तर प्रदेश राज्यकी महिला कल्याणमन्त्री विद्या चौधरी थाहै नपाई नेपाली भूमिमा आइपुगेछिन् । उनी भारतीय नागरिक मात्रै होइन मन्त्रीका हैसियतले भारतीय झण्डावाल गाडीमा आधुनिक हतियारधारी चार जना सुरक्षाकर्मीका साथ नेपाल पसेका रहेछन् । उनीहरू कपिलवस्तु जिल्लाको नेपाल-भारत सीमारेखादेखि २२ किलोमिटर उत्तरको चन्द्रौटामा पस्दै गर्दा नेपाल प्रहरी र सशस्त्र प्रहरीले उनीहरूलाई देखे । भारतीय झण्डाधारी पदाधिकारी आउने कुनै खबर नभएका कारण नेपाली सुरक्षाकर्मीले गाडीमा सवार भारतीय सुरक्षाकर्मीलाई सोधपुछ गरे । मन्त्रीलाई लिएर घुम्ने क्रममा आफूहरू थाहा नपाई नेपाल आइपुगिएछ भनी भारतीय सुरक्षाकर्मीले जवाफ दिए । उत्तर प्रदेश आजमगढ क्षेत्रको बहुजन समाजवादी पार्टर्ीीट निर्वाचित विद्या चौधरीले आफू मन्त्री भएको कुरा बताइन् । नेपाली सुरक्षाकर्मीले दर्ुइ घण्टासम्म स-सम्मान नियन्त्रणमा राखे । खोजिनीति गर्दा भारतीय सुरक्षाकर्मीसँग लङ् मेसिनगन, र्सट मेशिनगन थ्रीनट थ्री र पेस्तोलजस्ता आधुनिक हतियार रहेको पाइयो । यसैबीच सशस्त्र प्रहरी उपरीक्षक हर्कबहादुर रावलले भारत बढनी प्रहरी चौकीलाई सूचना गरे । चौकी इञ्चार्ज गोपालजी यादव आएपछि मन्त्रीसहित सबैजनालाई भारततर्फबुझाइयो -कान्तिपुर दैनिक, २०६७ जेठ ९) ।

यहाँ नेपाली जनताको मनमा कौतुहल पैदा भएको छ, भारतीय मन्त्रीले साँच्चिनै थाहा नपाएकोले अन्जानमा नेपाल छिर्न पुगेका हुन् या जानाजानी पसेका हुन् । जान्दाजान्दै पनि सिमानाबाट २२ किलोमिटरभित्र विनाअनुमति झण्डावाल गाडी र हतियारधारी वर्दिवाला सुरक्षाकर्मीसहित घुसपैठ गरेका हुन् भने यो कुरा नेपाल राष्ट्रको स्वतन्त्रता तथा र्सार्वभौमसत्ता सम्पन्नतासँग गाँसिन पुग्छ । एउटा ठूलो छिमेकी देशले सानो छिमेकीे सँधियारप्रति राम्रो मनोभावना पर््रदर्शन गर्नु पर्दछ । राम्रो अवधारणा नराखिएमा अन्तर्रर्ााट्रय क्षेत्रमा ठूलो छिमेकी देशको छवि निश्चय नै धुमिल हुन पुग्छ । स्वयम् ठूलो देश आफैले आÇनो मूल्याङ्कन गर्नुपर्छ । एक पटक गिरेको छवि उठाउन धेरै लामो समय लाग्न सक्छ । सानो छिमेकी देशले पनि आÇनो पहिचान कायम राखिराख्न निश्चय पनि केही सोच्नु पर्छ । हिजोआजको जमानामा सानो देशको पहुँच विश्वका कतिपय कुना काप्चासम्म पनि पुगेको हुन सक्छ । यस प्रसङ्गमा नेपालको र्सार्वभौमिकता खातिर हाम्रा सशस्त्र प्रहरी र नेपाल प्रहरी अधिकृतले जे गरे त्यो प्रसंशनीय नै मान्नु पर्छ ।

एकैछिनका लागि मानौं नेपाल प्रहरीले भारतीय बर्दीधारी प्रहरीसमक्ष किन र कुन उद्देश्यले नेपालको २२ किलोमिटर सरहद पारगरी विनाअनुमति हतियारसहित चन्द्रौटासम्म आइपुगेको हो भनी कडिकडाउ गरी स्पष्टीकरण माग्न सक्थ्यो । यस्तैमा भारतीय प्रहरीले पनि भूलले आयौं भनिसकियो, तिमीहरूले के गर्न सक्छौं – भन्ने जस्ता वादविवादका कुरा उठेका भए के हुन्थ्यो – त्यसमाथि पनि वाद-प्रतिवाद चर्किदै दुवै पक्षबाट गोली हानाहान गर्नुपर्ने अवस्था सिर्जना भए परिस्थिति के हुन सक्थ्यो – सानै झगडाको बीउले पनि उग्ररूप लिन सक्ने थियो । यो कुरा विचारणीय छ । तर नेपाल तर्फा दुवै अङ्गका प्रहरी गणले मित्रताका हैसियतमा संयम अपनाई भारतीय समकक्षीलाई बुझाए ।

यो कुरा यहाँ किन उल्लेख गरिएको छ भने गत जेठ १२ गते (26 May) हतियारसहित नेपाली भूमिमा प्रवेश गरेका भारतीय सीमा सुरक्षा बल -एसएसबी) का निरीक्षक हितैन्द्र सिंह र नेपाली हवल्दार शम्भुकुमार चौधरीबीच विवाद भएपछि सिंहले चौधरर्ीतर्फ सोझयाई हानेको गोलीले ५५ वर्षा र्सवसाधारण नेपाली नागरिक वासुदेव साहको घटनास्थलमै मृत्यु भएको थियो ।

यो घटनापर्ूव विराटनगरबाट करिब २५ किलोमिटर पर्ूव-दक्षिण अमाहिबरियाती गाविसको खयरवन नाकास्थित दश गजाबाट मोटरसाइकलमा जवान मोहन सिंह सोडालाई साथमा लिई भारतीय बलका निरीक्षक सिंह दर्ुइ सय मिटर नेपालतर्फ पसेका थिए । भारतीय नागरिक हरिशचन्द्र मण्डलले जेठ ११ गते एक टिन तोरीको तेल नेपाल भित्र्याएका हुन् वा होइनन् भनी सिंह र चौधरीबीच विवाद परेकेा थियो । विवादको क्रम बढ्दै गई सिंहले चौधरीलाई लक्षित गरी पेस्तोलले तीन राउण्ड गोली प्रहार गरे । गोली छल्न हवल्दार चौधरी भूइँमा लडे । तर गोली नजिकैको फलैंचामा बसेका बासुदेव साहको छातीमा लाग्यो र उनको तत्काल मृत्यु भयो । आत्मरक्षाका लागि नेपाली प्रहरीबाट पनि थ्रीनट थ्री राइफलबाट दर्ुइ राउण्ड हवाई फायर गरियो । त्यसपछि भारतीय प्रहरी चढेर आएको मोटरसाइकल छाडेर फरार भए । त्यहाँ तत्काल संवेदनशील वातावरण पैदाभई जनजीवन प्रभावित भयो । घटनापछि खयरवन नाकाबाट आउ जाउ दिनभर ठप्प रèो । दर्ुइ छिमेकी मुलुकका सुरक्षाकर्मीबीच सानो कुरोको विवादका कारण एक जना निर्दोष नेपाली नागरिकले अनायास ज्यान गुमाउनु पर्‍यो । यसैगरी भारतीय मन्त्री हतियारसहितका सुरक्षाकर्मीसाथ चन्द्रौटासम्म अनायास आएका कारण वातावरण चर्केको भए यसले के कस्तो रूप लिने थियो भन्ने कुरा आÇनै ठाउँमा छ । तर कुनै अप्रिय घटना भएन । यो सन्तोषको विषय हो ।

फेरि भारतीय महिला कल्याणमन्त्री विद्या चौधरीकै कुरा गरौं । उनी साँच्चीनै थाहै नपाई अन्जानमा नेपाली भूमिमा पस्न पुगेका हुन् भने उनको निर्दोषपनालाई क्षमा गर्नुपर्ने पनि हुन्छ । तर भारतीय प्रहरी वर्दी लगाई सुसज्जित हात-हतियारसहित विनाअनुमति आÇनो देशको सीमाभित्र छिर्दा पनि थाहा पत्तो नपाउने नेपाली सुरक्षाकर्मीको चाहिँ उदासिनता देखिन आउँछ । तल्लो तहका सुरक्षाकर्मीको यस्ता हेलचेक्य्राइँका कारणले माथिल्लो तहसम्म पनि नराम्रो असर पर्न जान सक्छ । यस्ता कुराले देशको इज्जत र पहिचानमा धक्का लाग्न
सक्छ । यसै कारणले होला अन्तर्रर्ााट्रय सीमा वारपारमा के कस्तो हुँदैछ भन्ने कुरो थाहा नपाउने सशस्त्र प्रहरी सीमा सुरक्षा बल कृष्णनगरका प्रमुख रणबहादुर कुवँर र इलाका प्रहरी कार्यालयका निरीक्षक योगेन्द्र थापालाई यस प्रकरणमा चार दिनका लागि निलम्बन गरियो । यस कार्यलाई भविष्यमा अन्य क्षेत्रका सुरक्षा निकायलाई समेत र्सतक गराइएका मान्नर्ुपर्छ ।

हुन त यस्ता घटना पहिले पनि नभएका होइनन् । नेपालले यी घटनाबाट पाठ सिकेर सुरक्षा निकायलाई न त सुदृढ गर्न सकेको छ, न त भारत यस्ता क्रियामा सजग रही घटना हुन नदिने क्रममा रहेको छ । घटना सेलाएपछि दुवै देश अर्को घटना नभएसम्म चुप लागेर बस्ने गरेका छन् ।

यस्तै घटना २०६१ असार १४ मा पनि भएको थियो । भारत उत्तर प्रदेश राज्य सरकारका खाद्य तथा रसदमन्त्री सुरेन्द्र विक्रम सिंहका सहोदर भाई ब्रजेशप्रताप सिंह र दर्ुइ भारतीय प्रहरीसमेत ६ जना भारतीय नागरिकलाई अवैध हातहतियार एसएमजी र पेस्तोलसहित थानकोट नाका प्रहरीले पक्राउ गरेको थियो । उत्तर प्रदेशको नम्बर प्लेट भएको निजी पजेरो गाडीमा भारतीय समाजवादी पार्टर्ीीे झण्डा राखेर उनीहरू राजधानी प्रवेश गर्दै थिए । थानकोट सुरक्षा जाँच प्रहरीले गाडी चेक गर्दा प्रहरी कर्मचारीमाथि अभद्र तथा शंकास्पद व्यवहार पर््रदर्शन गरेकोले लुकाई राखेको हतियार फेला परेको थियो । उनीहरूलाई जिल्ला प्रहरी कार्यालय हनुमानढोकामा हिरासतमा राखियो । भारतीय मन्त्रीका भाइ सिंहले आफू पशुपतिनाथको दर्शन गर्न आएको र सुरक्षाका लागि दर्ुइ भारतीय प्रहरीलाई हतियारसहित साथमा ल्याएको प्रहरीसमक्ष बयान दिएका थिए । अन्ततः उनीहरूलाई सौहार्दतासाथ भारतीय दूतावासमा बुझाइयो ।

भारतीय नम्बर प्लेटको गाडीमा हतियारसहित राजधानी छिर्ने नाका थानकोट भञ्ज्याङ्सम्म भारतीय नागरिक विनारोकटोक आइपुग्नु जस्ता घटनाबाट हाम्रो राजमार्गको सुरक्षा प्रणाली कस्तो रहेछ भन्ने गम्भीर प्रश्नचिन्ह रहेको जान्न सकिन्छ । वास्तवमा उनीहरू छिरेका भैरहवाको बेलही सीमा-नाकाबाट थानकोटसम्मको दश स्थानमा जोसुकैलाई पनि सुरक्षा जाँच गरिन्छ । तर नौ सुरक्षा चौकीले भारतीय सुरक्षाकर्मीको हतियार देख्न सकेन । यसमा हाम्रो सुरक्षा निकायको विम्व प्रतिविम्व हुन्छ र मुलुकभरिको सुरक्षा व्यवस्था आङ्कलन गर्न सकिन्छ । बितेका यस्ता घटनालाई सरकारी निकायले मनन गरी भविष्यका सुरक्षा योजना तर्जुमा गर्न ध्यान पुर्‍याउनु पर्छ र यस्ता सुरक्षा योजनालाई क्रियाशील तरिकाले कार्यान्वयन गर्नमा सफलता हासिल गर्नुपर्छ ।
अर्कोतर्फदुवै देशका र्सवसाधारण जनता तथा कुनै मन्त्रीले आÇनो राष्ट्रको भूमि पारगरी थाहै नपाई छिमेकी मुलुकमा पसेको पत्ता नपाउने अवस्थाको अन्त्य गर्न सीमारेखामा स्थापना गरिएका जङ्गे खम्बाजस्ता सीमाचिन्हलाई दुरुस्त राखी टाढैबाट स्पष्ट रूपमा देख्न सकिने गरी सेतो चुनाले वर्षोनी लिपपोत गर्नुपर्छ । यसका साथै दुवै तर्फा दशगजालाई सफा राखी “नो-म्यान्स ल्याण्ड” का रूपमा मानव उपयोगविहीन क्षेत्रका रूपमा कायम गर्नुपर्छ ।

Height of the Everest

This Article has been published in Nagarik Daily on 26 June 2010, Page KA (Akshyara).

सगरमाथाको उचाइ कति हो –

बुद्धिनारायण श्रेष्ठ

नेपाल-चीन संयुक्त सीमा समितिको काठमाडौंमा भएको संयुक्त बैठकमा नयाँ बनिने नक्सामा सगरमाथाको उचाइ ८ हजार ८ सय ४४ दशमलब ४३ मिटर अङ्कन गरिनु पर्ने कुरा चीनले नेपालसमक्ष प्रस्ताव राख्यो । तर नेपालले सँधै सगरमाथाको उचाइ ८ हजार ८ सय ४८ मिटर मान्दै आएको व्यहोरा चीन समक्ष प्रस्तुत गर्‍यो । छलफलको क्रममा चीनले हिउँको उचाइ भाग ३ दशमलब ५७ मिटर कर्टाई चट्टानी भागको उचाइ उल्लेख गर्नुपर्ने कुराको जिरह गर्‍यो । किनकि चीनले सन् २००५ मा सगरमाथा मापनको क्रममा हिँउको भाग कट्टा गरी सगरमाथाको चट्टानी भागको उचाइ घोषणा गरेको थियो ।

संयुक्त बैठकको अन्त्यमा नक्सामा सगरमाथाको उचाइ चीनले प्रस्ताव गरेको ८ हजार ८ सय ४३ दशमलब ४३ मिटर लेख्ने र नेपालले आधिकारिक मान्यता दिएको ८ हजार ८ सय ४८ मिटरलाई पनि निरन्तरता दिने कुरामा सहमत भएको थियो । यसअनुसार सगरमाथाको दुइटा उचाइ उल्लेख हुने कुरा बुझन सकिन्छ । यद्यपि नेपाल सरकारले यस सम्बन्धमा निर्ण्र्ाागरेको छैन । तर सगरमाथाको वास्तविक उचाइ कति मान्ने – भन्ने कुरामा अन्यौल छाएको छ । चीन र नेपालले आ-आफ्नै उचाइ मान्लान् रे ! तर अन्तर्रर्ााट्रय जगतका विभिन्न देशले चाहिँ सगरमाथाको उचाइ कति मान्ने – यो जिज्ञासाको विषय रहन पुगेको छ ।

सगरमाथाको उचाइ सम्बन्धमा बेलाबखतमा वाद-विवाद पर्दै आएको देखिन्छ । वासिङ्गटन युनिभर्सिटीका प्रोफेसर जर्ज वालेस्टाइनले संसारको सबभन्दा अग्लो चुचुरो सगरमाथा होइन, तर पाकिस्थानको ‘माउन्ट के टु’ -गडविन अस्टिन) हो र यसको उचाइ ८ हजार ८ सय ५९ मिटर रहेको छ भनी १९८७ मार्च ७ मा न्यूयोर्क टाइम्समा प्रकाशित गरेपछि संसारभरि नै खलबली मच्चिएको थियो । यस सम्बन्धमा विश्वको विभिन्न क्षेत्रबाट उनको र्सर्वेक्षण विधि, उपयोग गरिएका यन्त्र, औजार तथा प्रविधिबारे जिज्ञासा उत्पन्न गरियो । कैयौं अनुसन्धानकर्ताले उनको मापनको आलोचना गरेका थिए । यसैबीच धेरै व्यक्तिको प्रतिक्रिया तथा आलोचनापछि प्रो. वालेस्टाइनले र्सर्वेक्षणको सिलसिलामा उपयोग गरिएको यन्त्रको ब्याट्री आदि कमजोर्रभई चाहिँदो सेटमा नापो लिन नसकिएको महसुस गर्दै आफ्नो मापन कार्य गलत हुन सक्ने अनुभव गरी क्षमा याचना प्रसारित गरेका थिए ।

सगरमाथाको उचाइको लामो इतिहास र पहिचान रहेको छ । विश्वका विभिन्न देशले विभिन्न समयमा यसको विभिन्न उचाइ अङ्कन गर्दै आइरहेको पाइन्छ, जुनचाहिँ यस प्रकार रहेको छ ः
· सन् १८५२ मा राधानाथ सिकन्दर र तेजबीर बुढाथोकीद्वारा ८,८४० मिटर ।
· सन् १९०७ मा सर बर्ुरार्डद्वारा ८,८८३ मिटर ।
· सन् १९२२ मा डि-ग्राफ हन्टरद्वारा ८,८४८ मिटर ।
· सन् १९५४ मा बिएल गुलाटीद्वारा ८,८४८ मिटर ।
· सन् १९७५ मा चिनियाँ र्सर्वेक्षण टोलीद्वारा ८,८४८ मिटर ।
· सन् १९८८ मा इटालीका प्रो. आर्दितो देसियोद्वारा ८,८७२ मिटर ।
· सन् १९९२ मा पुनः उनीद्वारा नै ८,८४६ मिटर ।
· सन् १९९९ मा डा् ब्राडफोर्ड वार्सबर्न -नेशनल जियोग्राफिक, अमेरिका) द्वारा ८,८५० मिटर ।
· सन् २००५ मा चिनियाँ मापन टोलीद्वारा ८,८४४ मिटर ।

माथि उल्लिखित उचाइ मनन गर्दा गत पचास वर्षो समयावधिमा सगरमाथाको उचाइ पाँच प्रकारको उल्लेख भएको छ । कहिले उचाइ घटेको देखाइएको छ भने बढेको पनि देखिन्छ । यस सम्बन्धमा सगरमाथाको आधिकारिक उचाइ घोषणा गर्ने जिम्मेवारी कसको हो – अर्को कुरा हिमालको उचाइ हिउँसमेतको चुचुरोको हुने हो या हिउँले छोपेको भाग कर्टाई नाङ्गो चट्टानको उचाइ गणना गर्नुपर्ने हो – यसका अन्तर्रर्ााट्रय मापदण्ड के छन् – यी सबै अध्ययन अनुसन्धानका विषय हुन् र विश्वको उत्सुकताको विषयवस्तु पनि हो । अर्को महत्त्वपर्ूण्ा तथ्यचाहिँ सगरमाथाको उचाइ एकाध वर्षा स्वात्तै घट्ने र हृवात्तै बढ्ने वस्तु होइन ।

अब लागौं सगरमाथाको उचाइ घोषणा गर्ने अधिकार कसलाई रहेको छ – यसको जवाफमा प्राकृतिक तथा परम्परागत सिद्धान्तअनुसार जुन वस्तु जुन देशमा रहेको छ, त्यसै देशको अधिकार क्षेत्रभित्र पर्छ भन्न सकिन्छ । यसअनुसार सगरमाथाको चुचुरो नेपालको सीमारेखाभित्र अवस्थित रहेकोले यसको वास्तविक उचाइ निर्धारण गर्ने हकअधिकार नेपाललाई रहेको छ । तर यो कार्य विश्वका वैज्ञानिक तथा अनुसन्धानकर्ताद्वारा प्रतिपादित सिद्धान्त तथा मापदण्डअनुसारको हुनर्ुपर्छ । किन कि यो कुरो पर्ूण्ा प्राविधिक विषय हो । सगरमाथाको उचाइ मापन नेपालको स्तरको र चीनको स्तरको मात्र होइन अन्तर्रर्ााट्रय मापदण्ड स्तरको हुनर्ुपर्छ । विवादरहित हुनर्ुपर्छ ।

यसै सम्बन्धी पूरक जिज्ञासाको कुरा आउँछ, के नेपाली प्राविधिकहरूले आपै+mले सगरमाथासम्बन्धी अध्ययन, अनुसन्धान र मापन गरी आधिकारिक उचाइ निर्धारण गर्न सक्छन् – यस जिज्ञासाका सम्बन्धमा यस्ताखाले कार्य गर्ने नेपाली प्राविधिज्ञ नभएका होइनन् । तर यस्ता कार्यलाई सरकारले प्राथमिकताको सूचीमा पारेको छ छैन र आवश्यक पर्ने बजेट छुट्याउन चाहन्छ चाहँदैन भन्ने कुरा महत्त्वपर्ूण्ा रहेको छ । हिमाली चुचुरोको मापनको काम बहु-आयामिक कार्य र निकै समय लाग्ने भएकोले विज्ञान तथा प्रविधि प्रतिष्ठानको संयोजकत्वमा विभिन्न प्राविधिक विभाग तथा संस्था सम्मिलित उच्चस्तरीय प्राविधिक समिति गठन गरिएमा नेपालीहरूले नै कार्य सम्पन्न गर्न सक्छन् । यद्यपि यो कुरो प्रविधिलाई होइन तर नेपाली प्राविधिज्ञका लागि चुनौती र अवसरको रूपमा रहेको छ । यसका निम्ति लगनशीलता, प्राविधिक ज्ञान, सीप र दक्षताको आवश्यकता पर्दछ । चाहिने आर्थिक स्रोत सम्बन्धमा नेपाल सरकारको बजेटले नभ्याए यस कार्यका लागि विदेशी अन्तर्रर्ााट्रय दातृ संस्था सहयोग गर्न तयार रहेका छन् । बाँकी रहृयो नेपालको प्रतिबद्धताको कुरो । हाम्रो सरकार तयार रहेमा नेपाली वैज्ञानिक तथा प्राविधिकले आरोही शर्ेपालाई साथ लिई केही वर्षो अवधिभित्र हाम्रो राष्ट्रिय सम्पदा सगरमाथाको यथार्थ उचाइ तोक्न सक्षम छन् । नेपालमा रहेको सगरमाथाको उचाइ नेपालीले नै मापन गरी नेपाल सरकारले आधिकारिक रूपमा घोषणा गरेमा अन्य देशहरूले जे मन लाग्यो त्यही फलाक्ने कुरा अन्त्य हुने थियो । किन कि सगरमाथा नेपालमा रहेको छ, नेपालको सम्पत्ति हो ।

अब अर्को बुँदातर्फफर्कौं । सगरमाथाको उचाइ हिमचुचुरोको हुनुपर्ने हो या हिउँभित्रको चट्टानी भागको – यसको जवाफमा अर्को प्रश्न तर्ेर्सिन आउँछ । सगरमाथा आरोही कुन विन्दुमा पुगेपछि आरोहण सफल भएको मानिन्छ – हिउँको भागमुनिको चट्टानी तहसम्म पुगेकोलाई सफल मान्ने कि हिउँले पुरिएको चुचुरोमा पुगी झण्डा गाडेपछि सगरमाथा विजय गरेको मान्ने – अर्को वाक्यमा भन्नुपर्दा, सगरमाथाको चट्टानी भाग ८ हजार ८ सय ४४ मिटर पुगेको आरोहीलाई सफल मान्ने हो या त्यसभन्दा चार मिटर माथिको हिमचुली टेकेपछि मात्र सगरमाथा विजय गरेको मान्ने – सगरमाथाको आधिकारिक उचाइ ८ हजार ८ सय ४४ मिटरको चट्टानी भागलाई मान्ने हो भने कुनै आरोही त्यस चट्टानी विन्दुमा पुगी उनी अचानक अस्वस्थभई फर्केमा अथवा चुचुरोमा पुग्न नसकी चट्टानी भागबाटै र्फकनु परेमा उनलाई सफल आरोही मान्ने या नमान्ने – यसको जवाफ हुन सक्छ, उनलाई सफल आरोही मान्न सकिँदैन । आजसम्मको अन्तर्रर्ााट्रय प्रचलन र मापदण्डमा विश्वको विभिन्न हिमचुलीको उचाइ हिउँको माथिल्लो भागलाई लिइने गरेको छ । त्यसैले हिमचुलीको विन्दुलाई नै अन्तिम उचाइ मान्नु प्राकृतिक सिद्धान्त अनुकूल हुने देखिन्छ । यसै कुरासँग चीनको नयाँ उचाइलाई विश्वका कुन-कुन देशले मान्यता दिएका छन् भन्ने कुरा पनि गाँसिन आउँछ ।

अर्को कुरो, चीनले सगरमाथा चुलीको हिउँले छोपेको भाग ३ दशमलब ५७ मिटर रहेको उल्लेख गरेको छ । यसमा हिउँको गहिर्राई कसरी मापन गरिएको छ भन्ने कुरा पनि आउँछ । सँधै हिउँले छोपेको चट्टानी भागभित्रको सतहमा यन्त्र राख्ने भन्ने कुरा आउँदैन । टाढैबाट औजार उपकरणद्वारा र्सर्वेक्षण मापन गर्नलाई चट्टानी भाग देखिनु पर्‍यो, जुनचाहिँ देख्न सकिँदैन । यसका लागि पारम्परिक विधिद्वारा हिमचुचुरोमा रहेको हिउँको भाग माथिबाट डि्रल गरी ‘ग्य्राजुएटेड् रड्’ सिधै तल चट्टानी भाग नछोएसम्म घुर्सार्नु पर्ने हुन्छ । यसपछि हिउँको उचाइ भाग पत्ता लाग्न सक्छ । यस्तो कार्य सगरमाथासम्बन्धी कुनै पनि मापनकर्ताले गरेको पाइँदैन । यसैले हिउँको भाग कति मिटर हो भन्ने कुरा यकिनसाथ भन्न सकिन्न । तर पनि जे होस् चीनले सगरमाथाको उचाइ हिउँको भागसमेत ८ हजार ८ सय ४८ मिटर नै मानेको पाइन्छ ।

अर्कोतर्फहिमालय श्रृङ्खलाभन्दा दक्षिणमा अवस्थित इण्डियन सब-कन्टिनेन्ट युरो-एसियन् ल्पेटोभित्र नजानिंदो तरिकाले र्घष्ाण भइरहेको छ भन्ने कुरा विश्वका भूर्-गर्भवेत्ताहरूले भन्दै आएका छन् । यसैले सगरमाथाजस्ता हिम चुचुरोको उचाइ प्रतिवर्षकरिब दर्ुइ सेन्टिमिटरका दरले बृद्धि हुँदैछ भन्ने अवधारणा रहेको छ । यसअनुसार पनि सगरमाथाको उचाइ घटेकै हो भन्ने ठोकुवा गर्न अप्ठेरो पर्छ । यदि यस्तो होइन भने सगरमाथा समेतको हिमालय श्रृङ्खला ‘योङ् फोल्ड माउन्टेन’ होइन, युरोपको आल्पस श्रृङ्खला जस्तो हिमाल पनि क्षीण अवस्थामा पुगिसक्यो भन्ने प्रमाणित गर्न सक्नर्ुपर्छ ।

जे होस् सगरमाथाको उचाइसँग नेपालको राष्ट्रियता गाँसिएको छ । सगरमाथा नेपालको गौरव हो । विश्वको तेस्रो धुव्रका रूपमा रहेको सगरमाथा नेपालमा रहेको छ । यसमा नेपालीहरूले चासो राख्नु पर्छ । कुनै देशले सगरमाथाको उचाइ घट्यो या बढ्यो भन्दैमा निरास हुनुपर्ने या फुर्कनु पर्ने कुरा छैन । तर हाम्रै देशका नेपाली वैज्ञानिक तथा प्राविधिकले अन्तर्रर्ााट्रयस्तरको मापन गरी सगरमाथाको उचाइ ठोकुवा गर्नु पर्छ । यस्तो ठोकुवा गर्ने अधिकार नेपाललाई नै छ । किन कि सगरमाथा नेपालमा रहेको छ । तर एउटै सगरमाथाको दुइटा उचाइ किमार्थ राखिनु हुँदैन । राखिएमा गाइजात्रे तरिका अपनाइएको मानिन्छ । यसबारे बेलैमा सरकारको ध्यान पुग्नु पर्छ ।

Open Border and India’s Security Concern

 Weekly Telegraph, Page 3

2010-07-07 05:58:31

 Nepal: Open border and India’s security concerns

 

 

 

 

Buddhi Narayan Shrestha

Border Expert

Nepal and India have been topographically more accessible neighbors. Both the countries have good relationship with each other at people’s level. However, there are some degrees of ups and downs in political relationship during the changing of guards in Nepal and India as well. But it wouldn’t matter much for both the nations, since transition period doesn’t last for long.

An exclusive interview of Indian Ambassador to Nepal was published some time ago. It was mainly on the security concern of India in relation to open border regime. Ambassador has indicated some of the points as misuse of open border, entrance of unwanted element to India via Nepal, need to vigil potential cross-border terrorist activities, visa-free regime enabled through 1950 Treaty etc.

It’s really a ground truth that open border between Nepal and India has been misused by criminals, terrorists, illegal traffickers of arms and ammunitions. Criminals commit crimes in one frontier and they flee across the international border without any restriction. They remain hiding on the other side of the border. Peace and security, law and order have been adversely affected on both the territories by the continuation of porous border system.

Ambassador has rightly pointed out as “open border has acted as a bridge between the people of two countries.” In one sense open border has made the life of frontier inhabitants easy. In another way people are feeling insecurity.

In the context of security concern, time has now come to ponder whether it is necessary to make alternative provisions for the open border system adopted between Nepal and India for hundreds of years. Because security concern and border management system have been linked with each other.

Now here lies a curiosity- is there any agreement or treaty to make the border open between two countries? In answer, there is none. But the Ambassador has mentioned ‘as there is 1800 km open border, there is visa free regime between India and Nepal, which emerges form provisions enable through 1950 Treaty.’

So far as Nepal-India Peace and Friendship Treaty-1950 is concerned, Article seven of the treaty says “the government of India and Nepal agree to grant, on reciprocal basis, to the nationals of one country in the territories of the other the same privileges in the matter of movement and privileges of a similar nature.” But it is not mentioned that the border between two countries ust be opened.

This fact has been confirmed by the Indian Embassy, Kathmandu. This scribe had written an article in a daily newspaper concerning the regulation of border. In response to this article, Sanjaya Verma, Counselor of Indian Embassy, Kathmandu wrote in the ‘letter to the editor’ column of the same daily supporting that “it is not mentioned open border system between two countries in any of the Articles of Nepal-India Treaty. However, open border is an emblem of close relation of friendliness, existed between two countries since ancient times to this date” (Space Time Daily, July 2, 2004). This reveals that regulated border system is not the contrary to 1950 treaty.

In addition, it is notable that Rahadani was necessary for the Nepali even to go from one part of Nepal to another via Indian territory till five decades ago, before the construction of Tribhuvan highway linking Kathmandu to Raxaul. In the same way, even the Nepalis residing for long or permanently settled down in any foreign country want to visit Kathmandu, they would require to posses the permit issued by the Embassies or Consulates of Nepal or from the Alainchikothi in Patna, India (Nepal Gazette, April 22, 1952).

On the other hand, if we make a study on the Article 3 (1) of Immigration Act-1992, it is mentioned that ‘no foreigner shall be entitled to enter into and stay in Nepal without holding passport and visa’. At the same time, Article 2 (B) defines ‘foreigner means any person who is not a citizen of Nepal for the time being.’

When we go back to the Immigration Regulations of 1975 it was mentioned that ‘obtainment of visa is not necessary generally for the Indian nationals to enter into Nepal.’ But this provision has been cancelled and deleted in the new Regulations of 1994. It means, even the Indian nationals have to follow the regulated border system. However, visa provision is not in practice for both the nationals. Unofficially, it is an indication of open border system in an informal way.

In the mean time regulated border (ID-Card) system was implemented for the air passengers, after the Indian airplane hijacked from Kathmandu on December 24, 1999. It was mainly based on India’s security concern. At that time, informal rumor was heard in Kathmandu that Pakistanis had made Indian passports in India and had come to Nepal as Indian citizens to hijack the aircraft.

Let us switch to the other point that Ambassador has raised in his interview. He says ‘last year about 17-18 terrorists having links with various terrorist organizations were apprehended in different parts of India who had entered India via Nepal.’ It indicates that Pakistanis should have been able to enter Nepal as Indians as a result of porous border. As a matter of fact, not only Pakistani, but also Bangladeshi, Mynmar, Afgani and Iraqi have infiltrated illegally through open border in the outfit of Indian and Nepali nationals. We can find them in the bazar of Thamel. This is very much deplorable.

With the background of all these facts and incidents, it could be said that open border management system is not working to maintain peace and security on both the frontiers. In this regard, there may be a question-  regulated border management system has been implemented on the air route and why not to adopt the same system also for the land route in a phase wise basis?

Whatsoever may be the bygone days as it has become history. But if we have to establish peace and security for the prosperity of both nationals, there should have some reformative measures in Indo-Nepal border management system. In fact, the existing system has somehow created a muddle for the people of both nations. Keeping the border open has made it easy for unwanted elements to run their activities freely. So we have to visualize the cross-border security concern of both frontiers in an international perspective. Hassle of border management should be tackled not only in the perspective of India’s security concern, but also Nepal’s concern as well, since Nepal and India are topographically close neighbors and the border is common to both. If there are some incidents in one side, it affects on the other frontier sooner or later. Assurances must be ensured to and from each other for the security of both nationals. (Mr. Shrestha is a Border Researcher. He can be reached at bordernepal@gmail.com)

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