Interview : Nepal-India Needs Regulated Border

Interview

by:

Rising Nepal Daily

Nepal-India Border Needs to be Regulated

 

 

 

Rising Nepal

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Cross-Border Mobility Between Nepal and India

Cross-border mobility between Nepal and India

Buddhi N Shrestha

 

(I have presented this paper in the International Boundary Conference entitled ‘Border Regions in Transition (BRIT-xiv) which was held in Arras and Lille in France and Mons in Belgium from 4 to 7 November 2014. Followings are the abstract and copy of my power point presentation) :

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Abstract
There is an open border regime between Nepal and India since centuries. This is unique in the world, in the sense that people of both countries can cross the international border from any point, many times a day without any interrogation, despite the existence of border check-posts at 26 locations. This type of cross-border mobility is being seen as a means of connection between the people of two countries. Life of both the frontiers have been linked and they are dependant each other. The mobility has enhanced the cross-border employment as well. This is understood as a source of innovation within the societies of both the nations.

The goal of this paper is to analyze the prospects and problems of free and unrestricted cross-border mobility. At the same time, it has to identify how the trans-border crimes could be stopped or minimized in connection to unrestricted cross-border mobility. It has been tried to suggest for alternative measures to stop the misuse of open border between Nepal and India. Emphasis has been given for the exchange of real-time information; and establishment of cross-border co-operation, co-ordination and collaboration mechanism, to make stop the unwanted activities along the open border.

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Objective
• To analyze, the prospects and problems of free and unrestricted cross-border mobility between Nepal and India.
• To identify, how the trans-border crimes could be stopped or minimized in connection to unrestricted cross-border mobility through the open border.
• To suggest, for alternative measures :
– to stop the misuse of open border and
– to minimize cross-border crime between Nepal and India.

 

Background
• Nepal is a landlocked sovereign state.
• It is situated between two emerging Asian giants, India and China
– On the north, there is the Himalayan range, as there is a regulated border regime with China.
– On the south, there are neither natural walls nor man made fences, as there is an open border system with India.

 

Cross-border mobility : A source of livelihood
• There is an open border regime between Nepal and India since centuries, as this is unique in the world.
• Cross-border mobility is possible due to good relationship and it is a means of connection between the people of two countries.
• People crossing the border for various activities in both the countries, is very high on daily basis.
• Livelihood of millions of people, living in both sides of the border, depends on that cross-border mobility.
• Nepal-India Peace and Friendship Treaty -1950 has agreed to grant privileges on matters of movement, on a reciprocal basis, to the nationals of one country in the territory of the other.
• Millions of people have a cross-border mobility every day between Nepal and India.
• For example, one single crossing-point Belahiya -Sunauli (Nepal- India) bears the following data in 2013 :

open border
• Nepali and Indian nationals use to cross the international border (no need of document):
• Approximately 832,000 Nepalis and Indians travelled from India to Nepal:
– 548,000 Nepali nationals
– 284,000 Indian nationals.
• Similarly 924,000 people had mobility from Nepal to Indian frontier:
– 680,000 Nepali nationals
– 244,000 Indian nationals.

 

Nepal-India relation
• Nepal and India have traditionally been close since ancient times.
• Nepal-India formal diplomatic relation was established on 17 June 1947.
• Nepalese and Indian nationals may move freely across the border without passport or visa/permit and may live and work in either country.
• Indo-Nepali model is found nowhere, as it has own speciality.
• Open border regime that has been existing from so many years, has become the most distinguishing feature of India-Nepal relations.

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Features of India-Nepal relation
Here are some identified features of the India-Nepal relation along the border:
Historical relations
• Nepal quelled the disturbances of ‘Sepoy Mutiny Revolt’ in India during British India regime in 1857.
• The then Nepali Prime Minister Junga Bahadur himself led the Gorkha troops in India and subsided the mutiny.
• India also helped Nepal to settle decade-long (1996 until 2006) Maoist insurgency that came to end in 2006 with 12-point Comprehensive Peace Agreement
• Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on 3 August 2014:
– There is no war that India won without the sacrifice and martyrdom of Nepali people.

 

Political relations
• The political relationship between the two countries goes back to the time immemorial before the period of British regime in India.
• Nepali political leaders and students had contributed to make India independent from British rule in 1957 such as:
– B P Koirala, Mana Mohan Adhikari, Ganesh Man Singh, Pushpa Lal Shrestha were involved in the fight against the British regime in India in the ‘Quit India’ movement launched in India by Mahatma Gandhi.
• Indian political leaders had contributed Nepal to bring democracy in 1950 as:
– Jayaprakash Narayan, Jawahar Lal Nehru and other had played a lead role to over throw Rana dynasty.
– Chandra Shekhar Contributed to regain the democracy in Nepal during 1990.

• Nehru managed to deal with Rana Prime Minister of Nepal for an agreement in 1950 with the consent of King Tribhuvan to bring democracy in Nepal.
• Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru helped Nepal in a movement against Rana oligarchy who were ruling Nepal for 104 years.
• Most recently, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said during his visit to Nepal:modi
– ‘Our relations have not moved forward with mere documents but through the heart of our peoples.’

These incidents show the political relations between India and Nepal.

 

Family relationship
• Large numbers of families across the border are tied through marital relations.
• Nepalese girls have been the daughter-in-laws of Indians.
• Indian boys are the son-in-laws of the Nepalese and vice versa.
• Commonalities of language, culture, physical features (especially Tarai area of Nepal) make the open border regime in one sense more people friendly.
• Indian Premier Narendra Modi has expressed:
– ‘We are nurtured by the same mountains and rivers and bound by ancient ties of religion, culture and kinship.’

 

Business and livelihood relation
• The Indian market provides cheaper and better quality products for Nepalese citizens, in the border areas to do their daily purchases.
• Nepalis can sell their locally produced goods such as vegetables, dairy products, domestic cattle, etc to the Indian market, as there is the cross- border mobility.
• It has created an opportunity for enhancing economic benefits for the residents of both frontiers along the border.
• Cross-border mobility has provided employment to the people on both sides.
• Near about 6 million of Nepalis have been employed in India as:
– restaurant waiters, security personnel; and factory and domestic workers.
• Similarly, nearly 4 million Indians are getting jobs in Nepal as:
– fruit and vegetable vendors, plumbers, electricians, carpenters and masonry; and school teachers in remote areas of Nepal.

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Pilgrimage relation
• Indians visit Nepal on pilgrimage to the abode of Lord Pashupatinath, and Lumbini, the birth place of Lord Buddha, Muktinath, Janakpur etc as the holiest places for both Hindus and Buddhists.
• Likewise, Nepalese pilgrims visit the holiest Hindu places of India like Kedarnath, Kashi, Gaya, Jagannath, Haridwar etc.

Indian Premier Narendra Modi has made a relevant expression:
‘There is a temple in Kashi (India) that has a Nepali priest and there is a temple of Pashupatinath in Nepal where priests are from India.’
• Cross-border pilgrimages have really contributed to strengthening friendship, mutual understanding as well as cultural relations.

People of both countries share common religious faith and philosophies, and revere and worship same gods and incarnations.

 

Socio-cultural relations
• People in both countries share many languages.
– Such common languages include inter-alia Nepali, Hindi, Maithali, Bhojpuri, Avadi, Sanskrit etc.
• Nepal and India both use Devanagari script in writing Nepali, Hindi and many other common languages.
• Many a religious texts, including the Vedas, Upanishads, Puranas, Tripitak are written in Devanagari script.
• People of both the countries observe similar cultural festivities such as:
– Durga Pooja, Deepawali, Holi, Mahashivaratri, Krishnaasthami etc in an equal enthusiasm.
• Close socio-cultural relationship between the people of Nepal and India is a great asset of both countries.
• Contributed not only cultural and traditional friendly relations; but also greatly promoting mutual understanding, appreciation each other aspirations, and cementing the existing ties of warm and co-operative neighbourhood.

 

Particularities of open border
• There is an open border regime between Nepal and India since centuries.
– However, there are prospects and problems of free and unrestricted mobility of people of Nepal and India across the international border.

• If we look back the border management of Nepal:
– It was a closed border system before the Treaty of Sugauli-1816.
– Regulated system was practiced with visa and permit after 1816.
– Open border was Started slowly and unknowingly after the restoration of the lost territory, as Naya Muluk or New Territory from the British India in 1860.

• However, permit was necessary till 1960, before the construction of highway linking Kathmandu and Raxaul.

• Interestingly, there is no black and white to make the border open.This is only the usage from both the sides.

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Reason to make border open
British Government kept the Nepal-India border unofficially open, primarily for three purposes:
1. To make easy to recruit Nepali hill people in the British army battalion.
2. To have easy and free access of British and Indian manufactured goods to Nepal and up to Tibet via Nepal.
3. To transport easily the raw materials from Nepal into India such as:
– timber and forest produce, herbs and medicinal plants, hides and skins, etc.

Whatever it may be, in the present context, there are positive and negative aspects of open border between Nepal and India.

 

Positive aspect of open border
There are positive aspects of the open border regime such as:

Convenience in movement:
• Open border has saved travelers time and energy to reach on their destinations on time.

Facility of quick response during hazard and natural calamities:fire
• There was fire hazard in Pashupatinagar of Ilam, Nepal on 6 June 2011. Fire Brigade brought instantly from Darjeeling (India) put off the fire.

 

 

Medical services facility:Eye hospital
• Indian frontier inhabitants could come to Nepal’s Sagarmatha Choudhary Eye Hospital, Lahan
to get the treatment without any obstruction.
• Hundreds of Indians including Sonelal Das (82 years old) got cataract operation on 9 October 2014.

 

 

Supply of local labours:cultivation
• Indian labours from Arariya (India) come to Nepal for paddy cultivation and harvesting without any restriction.

 

 

Immediate supply of food-grains.
• whenever one side of the border suffers from the severe shortage of food and daily necessities as consumer goods, the other side of the border is always there to fill in.

 

Competitive cross-border market:
• The local populace prefers to buy goods wherever they find them cheaper, for example:
– Nepali women customers of Birganj go to Raxaul (Indian town) for cheaper shopping of daily necessary.
• Indian citizens along the border come to Birganj (Nepali town) to buy cheap Chinese and third country (overseas) goods.

 

Facility of weekly market (Hat Bazaar)
• Frontier people of Nepali settlements go to Indian market for cheaper sugar, salt, spices, kerosene etc.
• Indian people also come Nepali weekly market to buy fresh fruits and vegetables and pure milk

 

Analysis of the problem of misusing open border
• Open border has been misused and it has become safe passage to criminals and terrorists.
• There are some challenges from free and unrestricted cross-border mobility as well.
• The unrestricted border has indeed been responsible for all sorts of criminal, anti-social and illegal activities.
• National security system of both the countries has been affected by the impact of this open border arrangement.
• Article-VII of Nepal-India Peace and Friendship Treaty- 1950 says:kakarbhitta
– ‘Government of India and Nepal agree to grant to the nationals of one country in the territories of the other the same privileges in the matter of movement of a similar nature.’

 

Reactions on open border system
• Newly elected Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi said on 27 May 2014: modi-koirala
– ‘Nepal and India should be mindful of mutual security concerns as they share an open border.’

 

• Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said during Chief Ministers conference in New Delhi on 21 April 2012:
– Open border with Nepal poses security challenges to Bihar. It needs center’s support to regulate the border to check cross-border crimes.

• Indian Ambassador to Nepal Ranjeet Rae has said on 12 February 2014 in an interview to the Kathmandu Post Daily:
– India and Nepal are very close friends and neighbours that share an open border.
– We have open border. Someone commits crime in one country and runs to the other.
– This is a problem for both countries.
– Open border has been misused by people who do not have the best interests of the two countries by heart.
– We have to set up our co-operation and co-ordination to ensure that the benefits are
maximized and the problems are minimized.
– Terrorism-related cases, fake Indian currency smuggling, gold smuggling and trafficking of protected species are at he specific areas of concern India has with Nepal.

 

Challenges of open border
Challenges are the other side of the same open border regime.

Misuse of open border :
• Open border system between Nepal and India has been misused by unwanted elements, though it was brought into operation with good intention.
• Sushma Swaraj, External Affairs Minister of India has said on 28 July 2014:sushma swaraj
– ‘Open border has facilitated extremely close people-to-people linkages.
– However, this has also been misused for criminal activities in the border areas, such as human

trafficking,import and export of illegal drugs, smuggling of Fake Indian Currency Notes (FICN) etc.
– We are also working with the Government of Nepal to jointly prevent such activities.’

 

Nepali authorities also have expressed concern over misuse of open border.parmananda
• Vice-President Parmananda Jha has said :
– ‘The open border between Nepal and India should be considered a boon for the two countries.
– However, Nepal and India should try to ensure that the open border was not misused by smugglers, terrorists

and criminals.’
• Foreign Minister Mahendra Bahadur Pandey has said in a seminar organized by the Institute of Foreign Affairs on 9 September 2014:
– ‘Our immediate neighbours expect Nepal’s active cooperation in not allowing our territory to be misused by elements inimical to them.’

 

Cross-border terrorism :abdul karim tunda
• Abdul Karim Tunda, one of India’s 20 most wanted top Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists,

was arrested by the Special Cell of Delhi Police from the Indo-Nepal border on 16 August 2013.
• Yasin Bhatkal, one of India’s most wanted terrorism suspect was arrested near India’s borderyashin bhatkal with Nepal on 28 August 2013. Bhatkal is the co-founder of the Indian Mujahideen, a militant group banned in India and listed by the United States as a foreign terrorist organization.

 

Trans-border crime :bablu dubey
• Indian criminal Bablu Dubey, who did 36 crimes in India sneaked Nepal through open border, was arrested by Nepal Police on 29 May 2013.

 

Trafficking of narcotic drugs :marijuana
• Indian para-military (SSB) seized, in Indo-Nepal porous border Patna Frontier, over 1,892 kg marijuana, 63.9 kg hashis, 1 kg brown sugar and 500 gm heroin worth total 1 million US$ in January 2011 alone.

 

Infiltration of third country nationals :
– Bangladeshi citizen use to cross Nepal-India porous border illegally in the disguised of Indian national (West Bengal).
– Such is the case from Pakistani, Afghani, Iranian citizens, as Indian (Uttar Pradesh State) nationals etc.
– Similarly, Bhutanese and Mynmarian citizens cross the border illegally in the disguise of Nepali nationals.
– If we stay and look for one or two hours in the Thamel street market of Kathmandu-
– we can identify such non-status third country citizens.

 

Transportation of fake Indian currency Notes :fake notes
Fake currency Notes come from third country via Nepal to India.
– Shekh Muhammad was arrested with Rs. 905 million Indian fake currency Notes on 7 June 2013.
– Aasin Miya was arrested with Rs. 6.9 million on 28 May 2012 in Bara district border.

 

Smuggling of gold:gold smuggling
• Nepal Police arrested Amit Sarraf of Raxaul, an Indian national, with smuggled gold in Parwanipur from Indian border bound bus on 19 May 2014.

 

Abduction of businessmen and their children :rathi
• Nepali industrialist Ganga Bishan Rathi was abducted from Biratnagar, Nepal and he was taken to Silguri, India and he was killed on 10 January 2013, after 23 days of his abduction.
• Nepali businessman Tulsi Ram Agrawal was abducted and taken to the other side of the border. He was released after the monetary negotiation

 

Illegal transportation of small arms :
• Police have arrested seven people with a dozen of small arms and ammunition from Morang, Sunsari, Jhapa, Saptari and Siraha within one month period, September 2013.pistol 2pistol

The Indo-Nepal open border, according to security personnel,

has helped in smuggling small arms manufactured in India.

 

Trafficking of girls and women :
Maiti Nepal, a social organization, rescued 264 girls and women (15-28 years old)maiti nepal

during 2013 in the Belahia-Sunauli border crossing point. They were supposed to be sold in Indian brothels.

 

Recommendation
Nepal and India should discuss:
• Free and unrestricted cross-border mobility should not be allowed any more, to eradicate illegal and criminal activities.
• It has to stop the misuse of open border in the changing security situation of the region.
• An alternative measure should be made, not to let misuse the open border in the present context.
• To stop the unwanted cross-border activities, Indo-Nepal border should be regulated slowly and unknowingly, step by step, in a phase wise basis as followings:
1. Deployment of security forces.
2. Monitoring by CCTV cameras.
3. Introducing ID card system.
4. Fencing the frontier.

1. Deployment of security forcedeployment
• Deploying border security force is an alternative provision to check terrorist activities, to stop the smuggling of goods, and to stop several undesirable and illegal activities.
• India has deployed 45,000 para-military force with the establishment of 466 border observation posts (BOPs) in the border with Nepal.
• Nepal also has deployed 5,300 Armed Police Force (APF) with 87 BOPs.

It can be regarded as the first step of adoption of regulated system.

2. Monitoring by CCTV cameras
A mechanism should be developed to monitor by the CCTV cameras.cctv
• CCTV and Digital Security Gate should be installed in a long but narrow corridor.
• Travelers should walk through that room speaking his/her name with caste, address, purpose of crossing the border and number of days he is travelling.
• It has to monitor, visualize and study his face, posture, dialect, way of walking, sequence of speaking on the computer monitor from inside the corridor.
• Doubtful traveler should be interrogated taking him to nearby small room. If he is found suspicious, it must be arrested for further inquiry.
• If he is a genuine passenger, he should be allowed to cross the border without any delay.
• If this mechanism is applied, half of the trouble created by open border will be minimized.

3. introducing ID card system id check
Most of the countries of the world have adopted ID Card system

• Introducing ID card system is pragmatic for Nepal and India, for the security reason, in a
phase wise basis in various crossing-points.
• Canada and USA has the open border system, but ID has to be produced while crossing the border.

4. Fencing the frontier
“Good fences make good neighbors.” -Robert Frostfencing
• It will be not too bad to erect barbed wire fencing between Nepal and India with 360 exit /entry points.
• It will also be easy to supervise the border and watch the illegal activities.
• Bangladesh and India (Tripura) has raised in 856 km. wire fencing.
• India and Pakistan have common barbed iron fencing (2,912 km).
But it is not a relevant time to introduce visa system because of the perspective of age old friendship

 

Conclusion
To materialize the above mentioned recommendations, following mechanism should be established to overcome on the misuse of open border:

Common action programme to accelerate connectivity
• Nepal and India need to execute integrated common action programs to develop on both the frontier regions collaboratively.
Develop further co-operation
• It has to develop further co-operation, co-ordination and collaboration mechanism by increasing the border vigilance, not to let misuse the open border.
Exchange of real-time information
• First hand information should be passed on to the concerned counter-part authorities to nab the criminal immediately.
Stress not to let misuse open border
• Nepal-India border must be restricted to the unwanted elements.

But there must not be any delayed for genuine cross-border mobility of the people of Nepal and India to cross the international border smoothly.

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The End

Talk on Open Border in International Conference

Talk on Open Border in International Conference

Buddhi Narayan Shrestha

 
International Federation of Surveyors 25th World Congress, International Border Management Session was held on the third week of June in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Two thousand one hundred participants from 97 countries of the world participated the world congress. There were eleven participants from Nepal. This scribe presented a paper from Nepal entitled ‘Case Study on Nepal-India Border Management, its Opportunities and Challenges.’

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During the presentation I mentioned, unwanted elements have made undesirable activities through Nepal-India open border. So there should adopt some alternative measures to stop illegal activities along the border.
In connection to my presentation, I explained the opportunities of the open border as convenience in movement across the international border without any hassle. There have been facilities of quick response during hazard and natural calamities. For example, there was a great fire hazard in Ilam of Nepal on June 6, 2011. Fire Brigade brought instantly from Darjeeling, India and put off the fire. Regarding cross-border medical services facility, thousands of Indian frontier inhabitants could come to Sagarmatha Choudhary Eye Hospital, Lahan Nepal any time to get the treatment without any obstruction. Indian labours from Arariya come to Nepal for paddy cultivation and harvesting without any restriction. There is a facility to supply food grains immediately, where there are shortage on the other side of the border. Local production like vegetables and fruits of one frontier could be sold in the weekly market of the other side there and then. All these have been possible as there is an open border regime between two countries.

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Challenges of the open border regime is regarded as the other face of the same coin. I explained with examples that Abdul Karim Tunda, one of India’s most wanted top twenty Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists was arrested on August 16, 2013 and Yasin Bhatkal, co-founder of the Indian Mujahideen, a militant group banned in India, listed by the United States as a foreign terrorist organization and one of India’s most wanted terrorism suspect was arrested by Nepal police near India’s border on August 28, 2013; and they were handed over to India unofficially.
Indian criminal Bablu Dubey, who did 36 crimes in India sneaked Nepal through open border, was arrested by Nepal Police on May 29, 2013. Aasin Miya was arrested with Rs. 6.9 million Indian fake currency notes on May 28, 2012 in Bara district border. Similarly, Nepal Police arrested Amit Sarraf of Raxaul, an Indian national, with smuggled gold in Parwanipur from Indian border bound bus on May 19, 2014.
There have been trafficking of narcotic drugs, smuggling of goods and machinery, illegal transaction of small arms and gun-powder, trans-border theft, robbery and rape through the open border.

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On the other hand, Nepali industrialist Ganga Bishan Rathi was abducted from Biratnagar, Nepal and he was taken to Siliguri, India and was killed on January 10, 2013 after 23 days of his abduction. Nepali businessman Tulsi Ram Agrawal was abducted on July 20, 2006 and taken to the other side of the border. He was released from Betia, India after the monetary negotiation. Maiti Nepal, a social organization, rescued 264 girls and women (15-28 years old) during 2013 in the Belahia-Sunauli border crossing point. They were supposed to be sold in Indian brothels.
There are infiltrations of third country nationals in a disguised manner through the open border. Bangladeshi citizens use to cross Nepal-India porous border illegally in the disguise of Indian (West Bengal) national. Their face, language, attire, food habit are as ditto as West Bengal inhabitants. Such is the case from Pakistani, Afghani, Iranian citizens as they cross open border as Indian (Uttar Pradesh) nationals. Similarly, Bhutanese and Mynmarian citizens cross the border illegally in the disguise of Nepali nationals. If we stay and look for one or two hours in the Thamel street market of Kathmandu, we can identify such non-status third country citizens. These are some of the examples of the challenges of the open border between two countries.

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So far as the reactions on open border system is concerned, newly elected Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi said on May 27, 2014 while meeting the Prime Minister Sushil Koirala informally after the swearing in ceremony in New Delhi that ‘Nepal and India should be mindful of mutual security concerns as they share an open border.’ Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said during Chief Ministers conference in New Delhi on April 21, 2012 that Open border with Nepal poses security challenges to Bihar. It needs center’s support to regulate the border to check cross-border crimes.
Indian Ambassador to Nepal Ranjeet Rae said on February 17, 2014 in an exclusive interview to the Kathmandu Post Daily ‘India and Nepal are very close friends and neighbours that share an open border. This has been so traditionally for centuries. In any close relationship, especially between neighbours with open borders, there will be irritants from time to time. But it will be resolved through dialogue, co-operation and understanding. We have an open border, someone commits a crime in one country and runs to the other. This is a problem for both countries. We have to set up our co-operation and co-ordination to ensure that the benefits are maximized and the problems are minimized. We need to have regulation and more patrolling along the border. But sometimes, unfortunately, they are also misused by people who do not have the best interests of the two countries at heart. Terrorism-related cases, fake Indian currency smuggling, gold smuggling and trafficking of protected species are at he specific areas of concern India has with Nepal.’

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During presentation, I expressed recommendation that alternative measure should be implemented in order to maintain internal and external security system, to address the challenges of open border and to make Indo-Nepal border safe and secure. In the first phase, a mechanism should be developed to monitor by the CCTV cameras. CCTV should be installed in a long but narrow corridor, and the travellers should walk through that room speaking his/her name with caste, address, purpose of crossing the border and number of days he is travelling. It has to visualise and study his face, posture, dialect, way of walking, sequence of speaking on the computer monitor from inside the corridor. Doubtful traveller should be interrogated taking him to nearby small room. If he is found suspicious, it must be arrested for further inquiry. If he is a genuine passenger, he should be allowed to cross the border without any delay.
As the second alternative, it is imperative to implement ID card system in a phase wise basis in some of the border crossing points. Introducing ID system is pragmatic for Nepal and India in course of time for the security reason. Travellers should produce ID card while crossing the international border, that should be scanned and let the passenger go through immediately. If this system was introduced, it could have been easily identified the total number of Nepali pilgrimage died last year due to land slide hazard in India. It is commendable that ID card system was introduced for the air-route passengers since October 1, 2000, after the hijacking of Indian Airline aircraft from Kathmandu to Kandahar, Afghanistan. ID was implemented with the decision of both the countries.
The last alternative measure I suggested in my presentation was- fencing the frontier. I quoted the saying of an eminent American poet Robert Frost ‘Good fences make good neighbors.’ Ultimately, it will be not too bad to erect barbed wire fencing between two good neighbours. There are one thousand eight hundred and eighty km long border line between Nepal and India. So there must have 360 exit /entry points, so that the inhabitants of both the frontiers can reach to the exit point, travelling one to two kilometer distance. But visa system should not be introduced because of the perspective of age old friendship between the government to government and people to people level relationship.
After my presentation, participants from United Arab Republic, Israel, Bangladesh, Malaysia and others put questions: whether India may agree to introduce ID card system, if there is existence of extradition treaty between Nepal and India, since how long the open border system existed, whether international terrorists travel across India-Nepal border or also Tibet-Nepal border, and how much will be the cost estimate of fencing on the border.

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I answered that Nepal-India border is open for centuries, but there is no black and white agreement. However it is going on traditionally and culturally. India may be mindful to make the border regulated in the context of the security of the people and cross-border crime and smuggling of fake Indian currency notes. For this, India has deployed more than forty-five thousand Special Security Bureau (SSB) personnel along the border. Regarding extradition treaty, it has been drafted and discussed, but it is entangled on the issue whether third country criminals should be extraditated. Terrorists shuttle mostly India-Nepal-India open border, and very few from China-Nepal border. Regarding the cost of the fencing, I mentioned my book entitled ‘Border Management of Nepal’ published eleven years ago, as it was estimated as 140 million US$. But the cost may be more than four fold in these days due to market inflation.

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At the end of my presentation I reiterated that for the security reason, Nepal-India international border must be restricted to the terrorists, controlled for smugglers, checked for criminals, obstructed for girl traffickers, stopped for narcotic holders, vigilant for smuggler of fake Indian currency notes. But there must not be any delayed for genuine passengers to cross the international border.

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A Borderless World ?

A Borderless World ?

                                                                                         Buddhi Narayan Shrestha

Prof. Gayatri Chakravotry Spivak; a theorist, critic, and Professor at Columbia University- USA spoke in a talk program at Hotel De l’Annapurna in Durbar Marg on  21 December 2011 in Kathmandu, organized by Dabur Nepal Intellectual Excellence Series.

Her talk was on the theme ‘A Borderless World?’ The question suggests that there is no certainty, no guarantee of such a world, and yet the idea, in Spivak’s own terms, is ‘doable’. She is convinced that while there might never exist a future where visas and passports become obsolete, yet a seamless world whose walls have been demolished by capital, technology and knowledge of languages is surely feasible. Spivak said, the possibility of a borderless world hinges largely on economic justice. For this, the downtrodden must acquire living skills and learning should commence from the ground up, so people are able to think from a global perspective early on.

She further said, we must keep dreaming, which are two-fold, and could serve as a model. First is the nation dream, where she envisions a strong nation, which can only be achieved through recognizing the necessity of the subaltern in changing the world. This requires understanding the desires, and not just the needs of the subaltern.

The second is the island dream. Spivak claims that we are all islands in our own right, making a critical statement against the exclusivist, chauvinistic, racist notions put forth by staunch nationalists in any country of power. If every country or continent were to be considered islands, exposed to and defined by the same seas, where then are these all-determining borders between us? Further, if the planet itself were to be considered as an island, how insignificant does that render us humans in the larger picture? Knowledge of this vulnerability should inspire nations to rethink their loyalty to borders and frontiers within the larger schematics of the earth’s ‘planetarity’, and dismiss it as an absurdity.

In the recent times, Spivak has spoken and written on the issues of terrorism, globalism, aesthetics, and education. She has founded an Education project to provide a primary education of quality for children in rural areas of West Bengal, India.

The talk program was attended by diverse group comprising of high officials of Nepal government, border researchers, Indian diplomats, art historians, corporate executives, media personnel, students and teachers, a rare opportunity to come face to face with, for the first time, such a globally acclaimed a literary theorist in Kathmandu.

In the evening of the same day (21st December), Institute of advanced Communication, Education and Research (IACER) organized a round table discussion at Club Himalaya at Nagarkot. This scribe was one of the participants in both the events at Hotel De l’ Annapurna and Club Himalaya.

There was a lively discussion at Club Himalaya, Nagarkot including syllabus, curricula of south Asian Studies and a possibility of Borderless World (?) as well.

During the round table discussion, this scribe tried to highlight on a topic ‘Is it possible to create a Borderless South Asia?’ I expressed that answer of the question contains ‘yes’ and ‘no’.

The answer is ‘yes’ in terms of economic growth and prosperity among nations. It can be beneficial to harness and usefulness of natural resources, hydro-power generation, mineral exploration and so on and so forth. At the same time, it helps to strengthen mutual relationship of south Asian region in political social and people to people level.

In the other side of the coin, my answer is ‘no.’ It means it doesn’t  suit ‘Borderless South Asia.’ It is due to cross-border terrorism, criminal activities, security concern, smuggling of narcotics, transportation of fake currency, human trafficking, abduction of people etc.

For example, there is an open border regime between Nepal and India. It has created so many unwanted activities like cross-border terrorism through the porous border. Terrorists travel from one country to the other at ease without any interrogation, crossing the international border. As an instance, Lashkar-e Tayyiba (LT) member Muhammad Omar Madni traveled through Nepal en-route to New Delhi in June 2009. US Country Report on Terrorism- 2009 says, ‘there is a possibility that members of extremist group could transit Nepal, especially into India. The large ungoverned space along the Nepal/India border exacerbates this vulnerability, as do security shortfalls at Tribhuvan airport, Nepal international airport.’

In the same way, criminals commit crimes in one frontier and they flee and cross the international porous border very easily, and hide in the other frontier. India is aware that Indian counter-fit currency Notes have been smuggled to India via Nepal. In this context, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar says, open border between Nepal and India has spoilt the economy of Bihar by the fake Indian currency.

Concerning the security of the people of both countries, small arms use to be smuggled without any restriction through wide open border. Similarly, trafficking of narcotic drugs en-route to Golden Triangle has been executed by the international smugglers. Same is the case of illegal human trafficking via India to Gulf countries. Indian industrialists have been abducted and brought to Nepal and Nepali businessmen and their children to Indian towns. They will be freed after the negotiation and payment of huge amount of ransom.

If there is a ‘Borderless South Asia’ all these unwanted and anti-social activities will be open and open. As a result, the people of these countries have to spend their life uncomfortably in terror and horror. Regarding the security concern of the people of South Asian Region, the border should be regulated to obstruct the terrorists, check criminals and unwanted elements, mainly to maintain peace and security.

Border business is a sensitive and complicated issue. It should not be confused in borderlessness. It is related to entire phenomena of the notion of nationality, social and economic notion, ethnicity and kith and kinship of the people of both the frontiers.

To solve all these problematic business, boundaries must be studied in a grass-root level. It has to be analyzed, how the frontier people are living and what are their woes and difficulties, what they really want. Border studies have to be done thoroughly in a joint co-operation basis. Integrated border development projects have to be launched by both sides simultaneously to make feel the people a notion of borderlesness, even there are physical border pillars, markers, demarcation of No-man’s land (Das Gaja) and presence of border security forces.

Including some excerpt from Kathmandu Post Daily: 2011-12-24

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