India and Nepal today decided not to allow their territory to be used for activities directed against the other and agreed to jointly pull down 'suspicious structures' that have come up in the no man's land along the border.
Commanders of the border guarding forces of the two countries--Sashastra Seema Bal
(SSB) and the Armed Police Force (APF) of Nepal-- sat across the table for the first time to deal with a host of issues including smuggling of arms, narcotics, fake Indian currency and human trafficking.
"The two sides assured each other that they will not allow their respective territory to be used for activities directed against the other," acting SSB chief Pranay Sahay said as he briefed reporters after the first round of the four-day talks here. SSB guards the 1,751-km border with Nepal.
"Discussions were held on the issue of encroachment on no man's land and it was agreed on the need for removing all such encroachments,"
Sahay, who is CRPF Director General, said.
Sahay said the issue of militants and insurgents sneaking into India from Nepal was also discussed. Both the sides will later exchange a list of illegal activities which they want an end, considering the fact that border is open and not fenced.
Among other issues discussed between the 14-member SSB team and the nine-member APF delegation were issues like mounting vigil on crimes related to wildlife smuggling, imparting of training by Indian security agencies to APF and tracing of certain terror-related modules asked for by India.
The Indo-Nepal border talks will become a regular feature now, similar to what Border Security Force
(BSF) has with its Bangaldeshi counterpart every year.
Sources said the suspicious structures are storehouse- size buildings and have been come up in the recent past. They not only violate international border management protocols but can be used to aid nefarious activities like storage of arms and
Sahay said India will increase its 'border posts' on this frontier. 25 such new posts have been erected and the rest will be created in a phased manner by 2015, he said. The Indo-Nepal border at present has 450 border posts which are manned by SSB troops.
Both the forces will also depute nodal officers at their respective headquarters to deal with emergencies and special needs related to security, Sahay said.
The meeting at the level of force chiefs has been initiated following the talks between the Home Secretaries of the two countries in January this year. It was then decided that the forces should talk to each other for better border management and control.
Sahay, who is holding additional charge as SSB chief, said some border districts of Bihar have been identified where Naxals or their sympathisers find a "place of stay or shelter" or for "rest and recuperation" and these activities are on the radar of the security agencies.
He said there are certain issues along the Indo-Nepal border which pose a challenge.
"It is not possible to have 100 per cent access control along an open border. We also act (against anti-India activities) on the basis of intelligence inputs," he said.
"The degree of difficulty is increasing" in getting land for stationing the force units, he said. SSB has deployed 29 battalions (29,000 personnel) for guarding the Indo-Nepal border.