Saturday, 2 March, 2024

Protecting Borders

It is good to learn that the Armed Police Force (APF) is in the process of setting up Permanent Border Outposts (BOPs) at different northern border points of Nepal within this fiscal year. The posts will be instrumental in protecting the country’s boundary and controlling cross-border crimes. As a paramilitary ground force, the APF has been entrusted with the responsibility of carrying out counter-insurgency operations. The security agency plays a double role as military as well as law enforcement force. The APF has taken such a relevant initiative at a time when India has released a new political map by including Kalapani, Limpiyadhura and Lipulek in its territory. There are various evidences to prove that those areas belong to Nepal. This border dispute must be resolved through dialogues with the southern neighbour at the earliest possible.

According to a news report carried by this daily the other day, necessary preparations for establishing BOPs at the northern border points are underway. The new BOPS are going to be set up at Kimathanka of Sankhuwasabha district, Lo Manthan of Mustang district, Hilsa of Humla district and Chhangru in Darchula district. The APF has already received a consent from the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Finance. The security body is now in need of logistics and infrastructural support from the government. It is essential for the government to equip BOPs with all the logistics, including communication devices, to operate them throughout the year in an effective manner. Once the security forces are deployed at any difficult topographical terrain, they will carry out their duties accordingly. As of now, no security agencies of Nepal have a BOP at the northern border. The APF, however, has as many as 107 BOPs in 21 Terai districts. There are 20 battalion offices, and one company office in eastern Nawalparasi district. Around 13,000 forces are working there. The BOPs are chiefly mandated to look into the management and protection of the country’s borders for 24 hours.

In the past, a cabinet decision would be required to set up a BOP. A new provision is now in place. In line with this provision, the respective district security coordination committee can decide on establishing a BOP. This type of delegation of authority is expected to be helpful for setting up such posts at the required places immediately. The Indian move to infringe upon our land in Kalapani, Limpiyadhura and Lipulek would not have been possible if our security forces had been stationed there. Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has already called on India to remove its security forces from Kalapani and other disputed areas in no time. He has asserted that not a single inch of land will be allowed to be encroached. It is natural that all the political parties have extended their full support to the government for initiating the process of safeguarding the borders. The government must consider establishing BOPs at all the disputed areas. The government should ensure safety of the forces deployed and manage all the required logistics to man the BOPs all year round even in the adverse weather condition. It must focus on protection of borders.