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"I believe that to meet the challenges of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. It is the foundation for world peace."

Guarding Nepal's Tibet border easier said than done

October 27, 2009

Tibetan Review
October 26, 2009

Under severe pressure from China to secure its
northern border as a check on cross border
movements and political activities by Tibetans,
Nepal is finding it highly expensive and arduous
to deploy the planned new security forces there,
reported Republica (Nepal) Oct 25.

Two different APF teams were sent to the
mountainous border districts of Rasuwa and
Mustang for a basic study as part of a plan to
deploy border security forces. The report said
that the first field study showed that setting up
security bases at two key entry points along the
border, namely Rasuwa and Mustang, would entail
wide range of difficulties regarding acquisition
of land, infrastructure, weather and logistics.

At Rasuwa District, where three bases would need
to be set up, namely at Dhunche, Rasuwagadi and
Kalikasthan, there was no public land that could
be used while private land had undergone a sharp
price hike despite the nature of the terrain. The
price hike was reported to have followed after
China began building the 17-km
Syafrubesi-Rasuwagadi road which passes through the area.

"Besides, there is a tendency among the locals
not to sell land other than within their own
communities," a senior APF official was quoted as saying.

Rasuwa is considered critical because China is
racing to develop Kerung (Tibetan: Kyirong), a
Tibetan town some 25 km from the Nepalese border,
as a trade centre and also building a
black-topped road to connect it with Rasuwagadi.

Mustang is a desolate area where because of
extreme weather conditions, people hardly live
four or five months a year in a few sparsely
populated areas. “If we are to literally guard
the border, it will be quite cumbersome in
Mustang,” a senior official at the Border
Administration Department was quoted as saying.

Given serious difficulties, Home Ministry
spokesman Jay Mukund Khanal had said making
arrangements on the northern border would be a
long process and only initial preparations were
on at the moment. Thus, Nepal’s plans to deploy
security forces in all 13 districts bordering
Chinese occupied Tibet along a total length of
1414.88 km does not seem possible immediately
unless “quick budgetary allocation” is possible.

Currently, the only entry point the APF guards is Tatopani in Sindhupalchowk.
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