Border War

Border War (China-Nepal-India)

Border War Front Cover

There were Nepal-Tibet War (1788-89,  1791-92 and 1855-56),  Anglo-Gorkha War (1814-16)

Published 2012

Price US$ 10

ISBN  978-9937-8676-0-3

Publisher : Ratna Sagar Publisher P. Ltd. Kathmandu Nepal

               Table of Contents

  1. Border War
  2. War of Maps on the Border
  3. Border Education for Border War
  4. International Boundary Principle
  5. International Principles on the Riverine Demarcation
  6. Phases of International Boundary Demarcation
  7. Reasons of Border Encroachment
  8. Disputed Border Areas of the World
  9. Methods to Resolve the Border Issues
  10. Role of Maps to Demarcate the Border
  11. Water Boundaries
  12. Border on the Sky and to the Hades
  13. What is Junge (Masonry) Pillar
  14. Types of Boundary Pillars
  15. Border Pillar is the Protector of Nation
  16. Indian SSB Camps at Junge Boundary Pillar
  17. No-man’s Land
  18. Boundary Map
  19. Talk of Nepali Diplomats
  20. Nepal’s Boundary Agreement and Treaty with the Neighbouring Countries
  21. Principles Adopted during Nepal-China Border Demarcation
  22. Principles Adopted during Nepal-India Border Demarcation
  23. Given and Taken Lands between Nepal and China
  24. Number of Nepal’s Boundary Pillars
  25. Length of Borderline of Frontier Districts
  26. Boundary Rivers of Nepal
  27. Border Passes of Nepal
  28. Border Himal
  29. Northern Inter-Frontier Pastureland
  30. Indian Barrages on the India-Nepal Boundary
  31. Indian Minister Unknowingly on the Nepalese Territory
  32. Fencing on the frontier
  33. Indian Military Check-Posts on the Northern Frontier of Nepal
  34. When was the Birth of Nepal ?
  35. Boundary of Greater Nepal
  36. Condition of Boundary of Nepal and its Demarcation
  37. Border Management
  38. Mount Everest is the Treasure of Nepal
  39. What is Sugauli Treaty ?
  40. What is Kalapani Border Issue ?
  41. What is Susta Border Issue ?
  42. Abrogate or Revision 1950 Treaty ?
  43. Nepal should be a Bridge on Two Boulders
  44. Nepal as a Transit Country
  45. Identification Card during Border Crossing
  46. Security Concern related to the Boundary
  47. Border Security Force
  48. Indian Activities on Border Security
  49. Chinese Activities on Border Security
  50. Ethics of Boundary Surveyor
  51. International Federation of Surveyors (FIG)
  52. International Boundaries Research Unit (IBRU)
  53. Association for Borderlands Studies (ABS)
  54. Border Encroachments by India
  55. Nepal-China Settled Border Issues after Disputes
  56. War of Tongue on Kalapani Border
  57. Facts and Figures on Boundary of Nepal
  58. Definition of Boundaries
  59. Cartoon Sketches on Boundaries
  60. Reference Materials
  61. Glossary of Names




                               Border War


S. N.

Date of Border War

Name of Border War

Countries involved in Wars

Persons  Killed During War (Approx.)





First Nepal-Tibet War

Second Nepal-Tibet War

Third Nepal-Tibet War

Nepal and Tibet (Bhot)

Nepal and Tibet (Bhot)

Nepal and Tibet (Bhot)






Anglo-Gorkha Border War

Nepal and British India




Mexican-American Border War

USA and Mexico





Border War

USA and Mexico




Chaco War

Bolivia and Paragua




Battle of Lake Khasan

Soviet Union and Japan




Slovak-Hungarian War

Slovakia and Hungary




Battle of Khalkhin Gol

Soviet Union and Mangolia-Japan




Korean Border War

South and North Korea




India-China Border War

India and China




Indo-Pakistani War

India and Pakistan




Indo-Pakistani War

India and Pakistan




India-China Skirmish

India and China




Kargil War

India and Pakistan




India-Bangladesh Border Conflict

India and Bangladesh




Siachen Conflict

India and Pakistan




South African Border War

Angola and South Africa




Sino-Soviet Border Conflict

China and Soviet Union




Iran-Iraq War

Iran and Iraq




Paquisha War

Ecuador and Peru




Ethiopian-Somali Border War

Ethiopia and Somalia




Agacher Strip War

Mali and Burkina Faso




Thai-Laotian Border War

Thailand and Laos




Mauritania-Senegal Border War

Mauritania and Senegal




Conepa War

Ecudar and Peru




Eritrean-Ethiopian War

Ethiopia and Eritrea




Shebaa Farms Conflict

Israel and Lebanon




Djiboutian-Eritrean Border Conflict

Djibouti and Eritrea




Cambodia-Thai Border Attack

Combodia and Thailand




Sudan-South Sudan Border Coflict

Sudan and South Sudan


                                                                                                                                            Source: Wekipedia/First of border Wars.

                                                                                                                                      Based on: Triratna Manandhar (2012),

                                                                                                     History of Nepali Army, Kathmandu, Page 30-35 and 183-199.

                              Border Diplomacy

            Diplomacy is the processes of conducting negotiations between representatives of groups or states. The word is originated form Latin diploma, meaning an official document, which in turn derives from the Greek meaning a folded paper/document. It usually refers to international diplomacy, the conduct of international relations through the professional diplomats and experts with regard to issues of peace-making, trade, war, economics etc. In an informal or social sense, diplomacy is the employment of tact to gain strategic advantage or to find mutually acceptable solutions to a common challenge, one set of tools being the phrasing of statements in a non-confrontational or polite manner. As a matter of fact, diplomacy is related to the foreign policy.

               When we think about border diplomacy, we tend to think of administrative boundaries and border management system. Those demarcating lines; often grown out of rivers, mountain ranges, peaks, narrow passes; govern our daily lives, and that’s doubly so if we live in the frontier area, near to a neighboring country or state. We know that some boundaries are on some level unnatural, having homogeneous topography. In the same way there might have some identical human behavior, food habit and similar attire and language of both the frontier people. For example, driving around the Birganj town of Nepal and Raxaul of India makes this abundantly clear. Price of the daily consumable items and commodities may be not so different, as it can be difficult to tell which state you’re in, India or Nepal for the virgin visitors, and the small street of State Line Road does nothing to make it clearer, since there is no conspicuous and eye catching demarcation on both the sides of the crossing point.

               Diplomacy is highly related to the foreign policy of a country. In fact, Nepal’s foreign policy uses to be shaky time and often especially when there are incidents between Nepal and India and Nepal and China. Similarly, it fluctuates in connection to the changing relation between China and India. The most important thing is that border diplomacy has not yet chalked down in Nepal’s foreign policy.

               If I have to talk about the border diplomacy, it is the art and practice of conducting international boundaries negotiations between nations. It usually refers international relations through the intercession of professional diplomats and experts with regard to issues of peace-making culture through mutual understanding.  In addition, border diplomacy is the employment of tact to gain strategic advantage or to find mutually acceptable solutions to a common problem in relation to the historical and authentic documents and materials which are acceptable for both sides in a congenial atmosphere. At the same time, border diplomacy is an enterprise which necessitates an untiring supply of talented individuals with facts, figures and past incidents to convey and convince neighbouring boundary and surveying experts, in one or the alternative way.

               Nepal’s border diplomacy consists of two facets of the same coin. One is the border demarcation diplomacy and the other face is border management diplomacy.

1.            Border Demarcation Diplomacy

1.        Border between two nations shall be demarcated in a joint working basis with equal footing. Strip maps and GIS data concerning border business should be prepared and established jointly, since border is common to both nations.

2.        Boundary demarcation problems shall be resolved on the basis of friendship, brotherliness, mutual respect, understanding and reciprocity.

3.        Border shall be demarcated on basis of old maps, documents, co-ordinates and reference materials.

4.        If there are differences in some segments of the borderline, that shall be settled with the formation of joint technical level committee and high level joint commission with equal participation.

5.        Track-II diplomacy should be adopted to find out the modality, ways and means to make study and research for the amicable settlement of the problems. Diplomats must prepare a solution paper on the basis of facts, figures and past incidents. They must keep in touch with the counterpart Track-II diplomats of the neighboring country to find out the solution, agreeable to both nations.

6.        Content of solution paper shall be discussed broadly on the political level and it should be passed by majority with some amendment and addition. Finally it shall be adopted as the ‘National Border Diplomacy or Policy’ of the nation. This guideline policy matter should be adopted and spoken by all political party leaders, bureaucrats and technocrats with the counterpart personnel.

7.        Finally, Head of Government must talk to his counterpart of neighboring country, on the basis of national border diplomacy to negotiate and solve the border demarcation problems.

8.        If there is no way out even on the level of Head of Government, the diplomacy tactic shall be taken to seek mediation diplomacy form the third country. Both the nations should be entrusted to the mediating country.

9.        If the mediation diplomacy is not successful or entrusted, then the next step shall be to knock the door of the international institutions or organizations, such as United Nations Security Council or International Court of Justice. But it is the virtue of a country to inform officially to the neighboring country, before going to the international organization for petition.

10.     The State shall go to the international organizations to seek justice, on the issue of border business, to preserve the national sovereignty and to maintain integrity.

1.1          Nepal-India border demarcation diplomacy

1.        It is said that 97 percent of Nepal-India border has been demarcated. 182 strip-maps have been prepared and 8,553 border pillars and markers have been established.

2.        There are problems in remaining 3 percent of the border line. It means nearly 38 kilometer of borderline in various spots has not yet demarcated, since there are 1,880 kilometer border between Nepal and India.

3.        Within the spotted span of 38 kilometer, there are encroachments, disputes, claims and counter-claims in more than 71 places, having 60,662 hectares in area. The largest chunk of encroachment is the Kalapani-Limpiyadhura in Darchula district and its area is nearly 37,000 hectare. The second disputed/encroached area is Susta, as 14,500 hectare in Nawalparasi district. Besides, there are disputes, claims and counter-claims in other 69 places having 9,162 hectare of land. The smallest piece of encroachment is 240 square meter (Nearly half a Ropani) of land, located at Phatak of Pashupatinagar Village Development Committee in Ilam district.

4.        These 2 percent (38 km) of unsettled spots should be handled as per the norms of border demarcation diplomacy, as stated in above mentioned serial number one.

5.        High level Joint Commission, consisting of Track-II diplomats and intellectuals, should be formed to settle the outstanding issues.


1.2          Nepal-China border demarcation diplomacy

1.        Boundary Protocol should be renewed with an interval of ten years, since the demarcation was completed and first Protocol was signed on 20 January 1963.

2.        Border line shall be supervised and monitored jointly and report should be prepared in course of the renewal of previous Protocol.

3.        Damaged and missing border pillars and markers shall be repaired and established accordingly.

4.        New strip-maps shall be prepared digitally on the basis of previous maps, adopting new technology, such as Global Positioning System (GPS) observations and establishment of Geographical Information System (GIS) data.

5.        India-Nepal-China Tri-junction Points (Zero Marker) must be established on both ends of the border line with equal co-operation of both India and China.

2.            Border Management Diplomacy

         Border management diplomacy shall be adopted on the basis of dynamic equilibrium on both China and India. There is a quotation of the Late King Prithvi Narayan Shah the Great ‘Nepal is a yam between two boulders.’ But the situation has been changed and it has to be re-visualized in the changing context of not only Nepal, but also changing situation of China and India as well. Now it will not be exaggerated to say that ‘Nepal should be a bridge on two boulders.’

2.1          Nepal-China border management diplomacy

1.        Nepal and China has a regulated border management system. However, Tibetans sneak illegally to Nepal. So border management should be strengthened from both the sides. 

2.        border out-post and immigration check-post shall be established close to the border crossing points as far as possible, not to allow anti-China activity from the Nepali soil. Presently, these posts have been located ten to twenty kilometer far from the border line. For example, Lamabagar Police post at Dolakha district has been established 22 kilometer south of the border crossing-point. In fact, it should be established at Lapche Gaun.

3.        Policy to increase the number of border observation post (BOP) of Armed Police Force shall be adopted, so that illegal Tibetan infiltration will be checked.

4.        Nepali timber, Himalayan herbs like expensive Yarsagamba of Nepal, Red Sandalwood brought from India should be checked, not to export illegally to Tibetan Autonomous Region of China, establishing BOPs close to border crossing-points.

2.2          Nepal-India border management diplomacy

1.    At present, there is an open border system. But it has not worked well in the matter of security concern of both the countries. So it should be converted into regulated system in mutual co-operation with the perspective of security issue for both nations. Policy shall be taken to regulate the border in a phase wise basis.

2.    To start to be regulated the open border, number of Armed Police Force and BOPs shall be increased in the first phase. BOP should be established close to the border line, but not in No-man’s Land (Dasgaja Area). Presently, some of these posts have been located 2 to 4 kilometer towards Nepal side.

3.    In the second phase, identity card (ID Card) system should be introduced for the travelers, who cross the international border. But the frontier inhabitants, who are the residents with 5 kilometer of the border, should be permitted to cross the border many times a day.

4.      In the third phase, barbed-wire fencing shall be erected on the border. But there must be 376 exit/entry crossing-points, since the length of the border line is 1,880 kilometer. It’s high time to regulate Nepal-India border to obstruct cross-border terrorism, criminal activities, smuggling of counter-fit Indian currency notes. Regulated system shall be initiated with the joint decision, as the regulated system was implemented in air-route with a joint decision, after the hijacking of Indian aircraft from Nepal. 

3.            Issue resolving diplomacy

         Nepal must be very clear on the border diplomacy and boundary strategies to resolve the long outstanding chronic issues. The border diplomacy relating to Nepal-India boundary may be as followings :

u        Nepal must nourish, insist and present to India that Nepal and India are the countries which have equal right and status in the arena of international forum, no matter how big or small the countries are.

u        Attempt should be made to make them understand the problems in the higher level of the state.

u        It has to convince India and obtain confidence from them.

u        Nepal should be enabled to create a congenial atmosphere and environment for India for a ‘face saving device’ in the international arena to realize the border problems, for example the issue of Kalapani, with Nepal.

u        Lobbying must be made through the Nepal Embassies and Diplomatic Missions abroad to exert pressure through friendly countries of the world.

u        Matured and experienced diplomatic medium should be conducted to convince India.

u        Track-II intellectuals should be mobilized to talk to their Indian counter-parts to resolve the outstanding complex border issues.

u        Root of the problems must be identified through the consultations with the concerned experts.

u        It must be identified the ways and means to solve the problems with alternative measures, which will be agreeable for both the nations.

u        After that stage, there must be dialogues and discussions among the political leaders in a manner of cordiality.

u        At the end of rigorous inter-actions, political leaders must reach into a consensus point and that will be adopted as the national border diplomacy by all.

u        If the border problems with the neighbour are not resolved mutually, problems should be briefed to the friendly countries of the world unofficially as a side line during international meetings.

u        Global pressure should be exerted to the southern neighbour of Nepal to solve the issues, through the friendly countries directly or indirectly that could pay attention by India.

u        If none of these measures work, Nepal must seek mediation through the third country.

u        If the mediation is not accepted by the neighbour, Nepal must be ready to knock the door of the international organizations such as the United Nations (Security Council) and International Court of Justice (ICJ) for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the nation. 

4.      Border Strategy

         In connection to the complex issues like Kalapani border encroachment, what will be the border strategy of Nepal, if India pleads as follows :

u        If India pleads that Kalapani belongs to them, what will be the strategy of Nepal ?

u        If India says that the then King Mahendra has given the area of Kalapani to India, how Nepal encounters to India ?

u        In case India reiterates, China has never said that Kalapani belongs to Nepal; in this situation, what will be the answer from Nepal ?

u        If India produces a proposal : Let us make the Kalapani area as a Buffer Zone (No-man’s land). What logic should be presented to India from Nepal ?

u        Alternatively, if India proposes: Let us deploy military battalions jointly at Kalapani area. What Nepal should do ? Whether Nepal’s answer will be ‘yes’ or ‘no’ ?

u        In the mean time if India wanted to take the Kalapani area in a lease for one hundred years, what will be the strategy of Nepal ?

u        Ultimately, if India proposes for the mediation from third country to resolve the Kalapani issue, which country will be acceptable for Nepal and on what ground ?

u        Finally, if India warns Nepal : If Nepal pushes the Kalapani issue in the international arena, Nepal must face the worst end result. What will be the strategy of Nepal ?

5.      Last item

         Study shall be made to know the feeling and intention of the people of both frontiers, on the alternatives of the existing border regime. Policy shall be formulated according to their wish and need. If there are some chaos and irritants on the border, the frontier people will be the first and direct sufferer.

         Policy for the integrated development (including physical, economic and social development) project in the frontier area should be formulated and implemented. Border area is a sensitive element of the nation. If there are some muddle and disturbances in border area, inhabitants of both the frontiers will be suffered directly in the very first stroke. Ultimately, it will affect the whole country.

                                      Definition of Boundaries

Alignment: A boundary line described in words in a treaty, and/or shown on a map or chart and/or marked on the ground by physical indicators.

Antecedent Boundary: It is a boundary line drawn before most of the features of the cultural landscapes existed.

Arbitration: A form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), is a legal technique for the         resolution of border disputes outside the courts, where the parties to a dispute refer it to one or more persons (the arbitrators).

Artificial Boundary: Boundaries which are not marked by nature and which must therefore be marked physically on the ground by means of stones, markers or monuments placed by human being.

Border: A boundary between one nation (or a political division) and another. It means an area which adjoins the boundary line with a variable depth. 

Border Area: It means an area which extends inwards from the boundary line. Normally border area used to be considered as a “sensitive area.”

Border Diplomacy: It is an art or practice of conducting international boundaries between representatives of groups or states, in negotiating alliances, treaties, and agreements.

Border Line: A line of demarcation situated at a border between two states.

Boundary: Boundary is the line which indicates the outermost territorial limits of state sovereignty. It is a line, marking the territorial jurisdiction of a state or other entity having an international status.

Boundary Administration: This function is concerned with the regulation of activities in relation to the boundary line, so demarcated. The supervisory functions will include passport and customs regulation at points of entry on the land boundary routes and seaport.

Boundary Allocation: Allocation of a boundary is the process, which refers to political decision on the distribution of territory.

Boundary Treaty: It constitutes an objective territorial regime that is valid erga omnes, with an independent validity, even if the treaty itself comes to and end.

Conflict: Clash, competition, or mutual interference of opposing or incompatiable forces or qualities. It is a controversy, encounter, counteract in border issues (the judgement did not end the conflict between the parties).

Contiguous Zone: The water boundary that is a belt of water, the width of which is defined but does not exceed 24 nautical miles from the baseline.

Continental Shelf: The water boundary extended up to 350 nautical miles from the shore baseline.

 Controversy: A disagreement or dispute on boundaries, a justicable dispute. A case that requires a definitive determination of the law on the facts alleged for the adjudication of an actual dispute,

Delimitation: Delimitation is to compromise the determination of a boundary line by treaty or otherwise and its definition in written, verbal terms. It denotes description of the alignment in a treaty or other written source.

Demarcation: Demarcation is to comprise that actual laying down of boundary pillars or other similar physical means. It denotes the means by which the described alignment is marked, or evidenced, on the ground, by means of cairns of stones, concrete pillars, beacons of various kinds, cleared roads inscrub, and so on.

Delineation: Delineation of boundaries is, in practice, necessarily an outcome of the determination of territorial sovereignty.

Dispute: A conflict or controversy; a conflict of claims or rights, an assertion of rights on boundaries, claim or demand on one side, met by contrary claims or allegations on the other. Dispute involves a disagreement between two states on a point of law or fact, which consists of a claim or protest.

Encroach: To enter by gradual steps or stealth into the possessions or rights of another; to trespass or intrude, to gain or intrude unlawfully upon another’s boundaries, to advance beyond desirable or normal limits.

Encroachment: An infringement of another’s rights or intrusion on another’s boundary.

Exclusive Economic Zone: The water boundary extended up to 200 nautical miles from the shore baseline.

Estoppel: It facilitates an international boundary decision based upon the express or tacit       consent or good faith of the state concerned.

Fixed Boundary:Fixed Boundary is the boundary along the river where the boundary has remained in the same position as it was during the time of boundary demarcation, irrespective of the present position of the river.

Fluid Boundary: Fluid boundary is the boundary along mid-stream of the river. If it has changed its course suddenly and taken a new course, then the boundary on previous course should be the boundary. And if the river has changed its course by cutting its bed gradually then the present mid-stream of the river should be the boundary.

Frontier: In international law, that portion of the territory of any country which lies close along the border line of another country, and so “fronts” or faces it. It is the farthest limits of man’s advance that have been called the frontier.

International Boundaries: It comprises all boundaries between two nations, whether they traverse land, rivers, lakes, or arms of the sea through territorial waters out to the high sea.

Map: A map is a portrayal of geographical facts, which can provide vital evidence of the intended location of territorial boundaries. It may also be an independent document with the limited function of illustrating a legal text.

Median Line: A boundary line on the sea between two coastal nations. It is the water departing median line, apply the ‘proportionality test’ to check that the proposed boundary is equitable.

Natural Boundary: Lines of boundaries which are marked by nature, such as mountain crests, rivers, and shore lines of lakes and seas, have long been utilized in establishing natural or geographical boundaries.

Nautical Mile: The international nautical mile adopted for the water boundary by the International Hydrographic Organization measures 1,852 meters.

No-man’s Land: An area of unowned, unclaimed or uninhabitated land (a no-man’s land of bottom lands aggregation), a belt of ground between the most advanced elements of the other country (the no-man’s land that is neither wholly good or wholly evil).

Protocol: Protocol deals with the maintenance of the boundary line and the markers that charges both parties with the allocated responsibilities.

Relict Boundary: It is one  boundary line that has been abandoned but is still marked by differences in the landscape that developed during its lifetime.

Strip-map: A map charting only the immediate territory to be traversed, which appears a long, narrow strip showing only a narrow band of territory (as 500 meter wide and hundreds of kilometers long strip).

Subsequent Boundary: It is constructed on an existing cultural landscape along the boundary line.

Territory: A geographical area belonging to or under the jurisdiction of political authority: and boundary administrative sub-division of a country.

Territorial Boundary: The lines on the surface of the earth which separate the territory of one State from that of another or from the Open Sea.

Territorial Water: The water boundary that is a belt of water, the width of which is defined but does not exceed 12 nautical miles from the baseline.

Thalweg: The boundary line ‘determined by means of deepest soundings’ along the course of a river on the fastest current. Thalweg is the German terminology. Boundaries in navigable rivers and straits very commonly follow this terminology, or main navigable mid-channel (Thalweg).

Triple-Point: Triple-point is located at that point where three countries meet and three boundaries terminate. At each end of any boundary, unless one end is on the coast, the two countries concerned meet a third country at what is called a triple-point or tri-junction.

Uti possidetis: It is “As you posses, so may you posses” also in the case of boundaries. The term is derived from Roman law, “in which it designated an interdict of the Praetor, by which the disturbance of the existing state of possession of immovables, as between two countries, was forbidden.”

Vista: Where a boundary penetrates a forest, it is a common practice to cut a path along it and it is called “vista.” The width of the vista varies, four to eight meters being the usual range.

Watershed: A watershed (water parting) is a line of boundary on the crest of a mountain range from which the water seperates and runs down opposite slopes.


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