Friday, June 14, 2024
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Good beginning

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India and Nepal have agreed to jointly pull down suspicious structures in the no man’s land along the border shared by the two countries. The structures are storehouse-size buildings and have come up recently to store arms and ammunition. Commanders of the border forces of the two countries—Sashastra Seema Dal of Nepal and the Armed Police Force of Nepal met for the first time to deal with smuggling of arms, narcotics, fake Indian currency and human trafficking. The issue of militants and insurgents sneaking into India from Nepal also came under discussion. Both sides have decided to exchange a list of illegal activities. The 1770 Km border is porous, open and not fenced. The India-Nepal border talks will become a regular feature annually and will be conducted on the same lines as talks between the Border Security Force and its Bangladesh counterpart.

All this is a healthy development. Bhutan has flushed out Indian militants from its territory. Rebels from the Northeast did not seek asylum so much in Nepal. But Nepal has been a conduit for militants from terrorist bodies in Pakistan pouring into India. That threatens peace especially in the Northeastern states. Smuggling is more serious. Assam has become an arms bazaar and these arms and ammunition come mostly through Nepal as the border with China is mountainous. Narcotics are also very much on the list of smuggled goods. Kathmandu has long been known as an entrepot for these narcotics. These come into India destabilizing society and spreading drug addiction prevalent in Northeastern India. Trafficking of fake Indian currency hampers regular trade and puts the economy in the two countries in disorder. The security measures contemplated by the two countries are welcome. But it is now only in a preliminary stage. Besides, politics in Nepal has long been in a flux.

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