The open border between Nepal and India is a big menace particularly to the former.
The southern neighbor has long been capitalizing upon the 1,880 km long porous border to encroach upon the Nepali lands.
According to border expert Buddhi Narayan Shrestha, out of the total of 26 districts that have border linkages with India, 21 are facing a blatant Indian encroachment.
The total area occupied by India stands at around 59,970 hectare of which Kalapani Limpiyadhura alone accounts for as much as 37,840 ha. Susta area occupies 14,860 ha, various places in Jhapa district 1,630 ha, and other places in other districts 5,640 ha.
Similarly, there have been frequent instances of Indian criminals entering into the Nepali territory via loose border points. The open border is also a prime factor encouraging unfettered human trafficking from Nepal. Instances of the armed Indian security personal harassing and torturing the Nepali people living across various bordering areas also abound.
‘No doubt, the open border is a grave challenge for Nepal to maintain its long-term independence and internal security. So, the Nepali side must make efforts to at least regulate it,’ says Hiranya Lal Shrestha, a foreign affairs expert.
According to him, even the controversial 1950 Indo-Nepal Treaty of Peace and Friendship does not contain any provision that says the border between the two neighbouring countries is open.
India has long been on the prowl to completely keep Nepal under its thumb. For this, it wants as many Indians as possible to acquire Nepali citizenship certificates to influence the Nepal’s polity. It may be noted that the flawed Citizenship Act 2006 encouraged millions of Indians to secure Nepali citizenship.
One of the changes New Delhi wants in the new constitution is to also allow the naturalized citizens to handle as high posts as President, Vice-President, Prime Minister and Chief Justice, among others. And it is no coincidence that such Indian posture furtively backs the shady agendas of the agitating Madhesi Morcha.
This shows the desire of India to domineer Nepal’s polity by sending its Madhes-based lackeys to high political positions.
In this context, the rights being enjoyed by Indians to live and work in Nepal is also something that needs serious attention.
The possibility of India using them for its own hegemonic interest of turning Nepal into another Bhutan or Fizi is simply high.