October 30, 2014
Filed by Kosh Raj Koirala for Khabar South Asia
Amid reports of criminal activity and growing religious fundamentalism in border areas, Nepal's Armed Police Force (APF) and India's Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) are enhancing intelligence-sharing activities to guard against security threats along their 1,880km border.
"It is our policy not to allow any activities that are detrimental to the interests of our neighbours in our border areas. We have made security arrangements accordingly," Home Ministry spokesman Laxmi Prasad Dhakal told Khabar South Asia.
The moves follow Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh's visit to Kathmandu last month, during which he "expressed his concern on the growth of religious fundamentalism in the border areas", India's Ministry of Home Affairs said in a statement.
Bam Dev Gautam, Singh's counterpart, pledged full co-operation, according to Nepalese Home Ministry officials.
Monitoring madrassa visitors
As part of measures to prevent religious extremists from infiltrating madrassas in border districts, Nepalese police now require all Muslim schools to notify them about visitors, particularly foreigners.
"As a precautionary measure, we have also made it mandatory for all madrassas to provide details about each new visitor," said Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Nawaraj Silwal, chief of police for eastern Nepal.
The nations' border is open thanks to a 1950 bilateral friendship treaty allowing Indian and Nepalese nationals to cross without visas.
However, in recent years, the APF and SBB have responded to security threats from human traffickers and counterfeit money smugglers taking advantage of the porous border. SSB has more than 466 border outposts (BOPs) compared with 87 outposts established by the APF.
"Our BOPs are monitoring criminal activities along the border," APF Additional Inspector General Singh Bahadur Shrestha told Khabar. "We have been conducting searches and investigations of suspected persons travelling across the border."
With high-level SAARC meetings scheduled for late November in Kathmandu, tight border security is of paramount importance, according to Shrestha.
"We have to further increase our movements," he said. "This is not a situation to be complacent about security."