The border dispute between
You have just visited some of the disputed points on the Indo-Nepal border.
Could you give us some specific examples?
Shrestha: The pillar number 706 located at Kushmaghat of the Bhajani VDC in Kailali district was not found. The pillars, which were erected as per the Survey Map of British India, were not found in their location. For example, pillar no 708 at Kauwakhera of Lalboji VDC of Kailali district was found to be 30 metres inside
You say the border pillars were not in their designated places. Could it be that some of the pillars were washed away by floods and the rivers, which are on the border?
Shrestha: Out of the 1808-km border, various rivers traverse 650 km and many border pillars have been washed away. But those pillars that are close to human settlements are found to have been removed by the Indians peasants, often in collusion with the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), the Indian paramilitary force deployed at the border.
With regard to the strip maps, how were the finalised? And what has been
Shrestha: Border maps are made on the basis of the earlier maps. However, some of these old maps are not acceptable to
But even during that time, some maps were not acceptable to the Nepali side. When modern maps are made based on these contentious historical documents, there are bound to be problems. With regard to the strip map, the problem lies with cross holding occupation — in a map, certain areas have been demarcated border areas but in reality those have already been encroached upon. The Indians, we say, are engaged in “cross-holding occupation”.
If the strip maps have been prepared after consulting authorities on the both sides, why doesn’t
Shrestha: The locals told the visiting CA team that the Nepali surveyors lacked professionalism when it came to demarcating the border. In principle, one side opts for demarcating the even-numbered border pillars while other side has to do the odd numbers. During the demarcation, representatives from both sides should be present. But, according to locals, the Nepali side didn’t bother to turn up when Indians were erecting the pillars.
You say the problem lies with the older erroneous maps on which the current strip map has based. But can’t
Shrestha: Yes, we can. The Library of Congress in
What could be done to address the border issue immediately?
Shrestha: To prevent encroachment we could deploy a border security force. Currently Armed Police Force is doing the job. They have been deployed in 18 districts of Tarai. We should increase their numbers, say to around 4,500. We should have border observation posts at every four to five kilometre. But most importantly, it is important to build a national strategy on border issues. Diplomatic channels could be used to take up the issue at political level. Also we could opt for Track II diplomacy (using non-State actors) to prepare the required documents.
Interview with Buddhi Narayan Shrestha: Nepal doesn't have archives of maps to counter Indian territorial claims
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