‘Open border, an opportunity for the poor’

Kathmandu, September 5

Former Nepali Ambassador to India Deep Kumar Upadhyay said that 99 per cent Indian criminals have shown Nepali citizenship cards so the government regulatory body should be careful regarding this issue.

“Nepal and India should work together to sort out water inundation problems in the border area. Nepal-India water management could be managed and the Chinese government was ready to provide financial support,” he said in a programme today in Lalitpur at a programme on the ‘Open Border: Opportunity and Challenge’ organised by Independent Youth democratic federation.

According to him, one of the reasons for increase price of petroleum products in Nepal was smuggling of the same to India from Nepal.

The open border could be an opportunity if it were managed properly said expert Uddhab Pyakurel. Presenting a paper, Pyakurel,  an expert on border issues said Nepal and Indian governments should sort out issues related to border dispute and start talking about opportunities. “Nepal-India open border is pro-poor people oriented” he said in his paper. The disputed Susta and Kalapani borders should be sorted out through political dialogue between Nepal and India.”

Former diplomat Vijay Kant Karna said Nepali-Indian people-to-people relations existed even before the demarcation of borders. “We have policy loopholes that should be addressed through comprehensive border policy and people should be involved in border management,” Karna said. He said a national policy on the open border should be formulated by the government.

Former diplomat Pradhumna Bikram  said political dialogue should be held to resolve the Kalapani and Susta border dispute. “We have already made 182 strip maps and only two per cent remains, which has been an even bigger issue” he said.

Border expert Buddi Narayan Shrestha said Nepal-India border should be regulated. “It is complex and it is researchable in the world. The Nepal-India border was closed before the Sugauli treaty in 1816. There is no document that keeps the Nepal-India border open” he said.

Security expert Umesh Bhattrai said Nepalis in the Indian army cannot get Indian citizenship card, but Indians want to Nepali citizenship card. He said the conflict was between justice and emotion.

Deputy Executive Director of Institute of Foreign Affairs Indra Kumari Adhikari said it would be better to gain information on the open border. “There are opportunities and challenges related to the open border, so that we should be careful while deciding,” she said.

Chairperson of the federation Arbinda Mahato said that the discourse would be transformed into an idea for resolving problems and creating good atmosphere for peace in the international border.