By PR Pradhan
After four years, the Tatopani trade pass resumed operation last week, but only for transportation of goods and not for individual movement from this side or the other.
After the devastating earthquake, the trade route was closed. The reason given was that due to the heavy damages on the Chinese side of the border, the route was closed. This is true. But the other reason was for the increasing activities of the Dalai Lama clique in the Tatopani border area. On the eve of 2008 Olympics, the Lhasa unrest was witnessed specially with activists moving into Tibet from Nepal and activists also holding protest programmes in Kathmandu. It is believed that explosives and arms were supplied via the porous points around Tatopani area. During the same time, in Kathmandu also, for months, Tibetans arrived from Dharmshala, India started organizing demonstrations around the Chinese embassy in Baluatar and the Counsellor’s office in Hattisar on a daily basis. At that time there was the government led by the then NC president Girija Prasad Koirala. The home minister was none other than Krishna Shitaula. Although they kept repeating the outstanding slogan “One China Policy” adopted by Nepal, in practice, the NC leaders had closed their eyes on such sponsored demonstrations around the Chinese embassy premises.
The fact is that the Nepali leaders were showing double standards. As a result, the Tatopani trade route was closed.
The Chinese officials are still concerned on their security sensitiveness. The Chinese ambassador Ms. Hou Yanqi, who had reached Tatopani to attend the trade route resumption ceremony, while interacting with the local officials and people, also talked about the security concerns of China. She was hinting about the possible anti-China activities on Nepali soil after resumption of the border point. Responding to the Ambassador’s concern, MP and NCP leader Agni Sapkota expressed the commitment for not allowing any anti-Chinese activities in the Nepali soil and also alerted the locals against such acts that might take place in the area.
After the closure of the Tatopani trade route, economic activities ended in that area and the villagers were displaced. There was strong pressure on the local representatives from the nearby villages to resume the route as early as possible. After different level talks and finally a high-level talk between the leaders from Nepal and China, the trade pass has been re-opened. But if any anti-Chinese activities are witnessed in the area, immediately, the route can be closed, causing loss of economic activities of the local people.
Nepal lies between India and China. Of late, Nepal has become the playground of the Westerners as well. They are active in Nepal with the plan of destabilizing both the neighbouring countries, the emerging economies in Asia. In such a circumstance Nepali political parties and leaders both in the government and in the opposition, should be responsible and should never hurt the security sensitiveness of both the neighbouring countries. In other words, Nepali leaders and security organs here should not compromise on the issue of internal security as well as security sensitiveness of the immediate neighbours. Otherwise, Nepal may pay a high-price.
First of all, the Tribhuvan International Airport’s security should be made effective and functional. Those smugglers, criminals and members of the international terrorist groups should not dare to misuse the TIA. The government should install sophisticated equipments to stop the movement of smugglers, criminals, terrorists and even those travelers who are trying to enter some Western countries by carrying fake passports by misusing TIA as transit point. The government should deploy honest, disciplined, patriotic officials at the TIA. If someone is deployed there through commission, immediate action should be taken against both the officials – those who have deployed a person by taking commission and those who have been deployed by paying commission. They have to be monitored by the concerned agencies.
Accordingly, considering the increasing incidents of smuggling, criminal activities and possibility of use of the open borders with India by international terrorist groups, the existing open borders with India have to be regulated. Highly sophisticated equipments have to be installed at the trade points and other informal (smuggling) routes in Nepal-India borders. The number of the Nepal’s border security force should be increased. There should be no compromise by the government and the security organs at any cost. The first duty of the security organs is to secure Nepali territory and secondly, keep Nepal safe from any possible terrorist and other nefarious activities.