Buddhi Narayan Shrestha, Border expert
Ex-Director General of the Department of Survey and Managing Director of Bhumichitra (Mapping and Land Development) Company P. Ltd, Buddhi Narayan Shrestha possesses profound knowledge on the technical issues related to boundaries that divide Nepal with India and China. Apart from authoring some four books including Boundary of
In his interview with The Weekly Mirror, Shrestha divulges his opinions regarding the Nepal-India border disputes and the possible ways to resolve them. Excerpts.
The Indian nationals have been capturing the land created due to change in the course of the River. They are fallaciously claiming that the River is the actual border mark and the part left by the River naturally belongs to
Another reason is that the
Not to be underestimated, the Susta border problem has also much to do with the Indian nationals who are increasingly encroaching Nepali territories due to the alarming surge of population in
The imprudent construction of Gandhak barrage has also proved inimical to
Shrestha: First of all, we need to figure out the course the
Q3. Are there such documents and maps now?
Shrestha: Yes, there are such maps and documents. However,
Q4. What is the viable way to distinguish original maps from fake ones?
Shrestha: Only the maps verified by the registered authorities of either of the two countries at that time can be taken as original ones.
Q5. Both sides are refraining themselves from complying with the maps produced by each other and in Susta area Indian population shockingly outnumbers the Nepalese. Isnít it posing a grave threat to
Shrestha: It is high time we made pro-active efforts to prevent our lands from being invaded by
Although the River has already changed its course, we can still trace the previous course of the River at various places.
Indian peasants have been occupying the areas left by the River and the Indian technical team has always remained reluctant to conduct field study to find out the actual route of the River in the past. And, their reluctance, of course, is not hard to comprehend.
Q6. That means they are scared of the truth that could be unearthed after the field visit.
Shrestha: Probably yes. Nepal-India Joint Technical Boundary Committee has been working for the last 25 years to reassess the border demarcation. We had constituted a joint team for inspecting the border points of Susta area some six years ago. As per the decision of the Committee, Nepali team reached in Suasta in the scheduled time period but Indian team failed to arrive in the area for more than two weeks without giving any reason. Right after Nepali team returned back to
Q7. Did the Indians deliberately fail to arrive there?
Q8. You have mentioned in your book ĎBorder Management in
Shrestha: What should be well understood is that the three principles have been propounded for demarcation of boundary. They are Thalwakes, fixed boundary and fluid boundary principles. Thalwake principle stands for recognizing the deepest navigation channel of the River as a border line irrespective of what side the River is navigated deeply. The fixed boundary system propagates for identifying the actual route of the River during the period when the treaty was signed to mark the border line. Lastly, the fluid boundary principle is all about acknowledging the changing course of the River as the border line between the two countries. As far as the demarcation of border line between
Q9. What efforts
Shrestha: The joint technical team, which has been working for the last 25 years, has failed to solve the border row. However, the team has solved every technical issue. The team has solved 97 percent of the border related technical problems but the remaining 3 percent must be addressed at political and diplomatic level. The three percent border problem consist the areas like Kalapani, Limpiyadhura, Susta, Thori etc. There have been claims and counter-claims on 60,000 hectares of land, of which Kalapani and Susta areas jointly occupy a major portion.
Q10. Do you sense any political motive behind the ceaseless encroachment of Nepali territories?
Shrestha: It is not that
Undeniably, this problem is linked with
In addition to the case of border dispute, the hegemonic attitude of
Q11. It seems that
Shrestha: This argument is not totally bereft of substance.
Indian nationals seized some 125 Bigaha of Nepali lands in Susta in the same day when the date of the Constituent Assembly (CA) election was scheduled.
I donít know if it is a calculated move or not.
Similarly, it may be recalled that during the referendum of 1980,
Q12. How serious have you found Nepali leaders regarding the gross border encroachment?
Shrestha: The main reason behind the continuous encroachment is the tendency of Nepali leaders to satiate their gluttonous appetite for power with the backing of
Apart from the high ranking government officials, the palace was also aware about the unscrupulous occupancy of Indian soldiers in Kalapani.
Unfortunately, they silently supported the invasion of Indian soldiers by remaining inert.
Although the government officials deployed in Darchula district often informed the government and the palace about the invasion, the then government didnít take any step to shield the territory of the country.
After the restoration of democracy in 1990,
Unfortunately, the series of Nepali governments has shamefully failed to make any serious efforts to preserve the countryís territorial integrity.
Q13. Do you think the traditional provision of 'open border' between
Shrestha: Given the changing modalities of international as well as cross border terrorism, the concept of 'open border' has really lost its relevance. Instead, the 'open border' has only propelled the criminals to carry out their nasty activities.
It goes without saying that the smuggling of goods being carried out by capitalizing on the porous border between
Furthermore, Nepali women are being trafficked to Indian brothels through the open border. Notably, the criminal elements took advantage of the open border to unleash Gaur massacre as well as to terrify Kathmanduties by exploding bombs in
So, it is highly imperative to devise certain mechanisms to regulate the open border between the two countries.
Q14. Donít you think the introduction of regulatory mechanism in the open border areas can be problematic to people residing near the areas?
Shrestha: There are myriad options to regulate and systematize the border. The best option could be to introduce identity card system. As per this system, only those who can produce identity card issued by their country will be allowed to cross through the border area.
The people residing across the border can be given special cards through which they can enter the neighboring countryís territory as per their requirements.
Another option could well be to fence the border areas with barbed wires by establishing 180 checks points. This system can go a long way in controlling cross border terrorism as well as preventing increasing encroachment by