Nepal-India security talks start today

KATHMANDU, April 25: A four-day meeting of Nepal-India Bilateral Consultative Group beginning Wednesday in Pokhara will dwell on border management, military training and cooperation, and real-time information sharing between the two countries to curb cross-border criminal activities. An eight-member Indian delegation led by Joint Secretary of External Affairs Ministry (MEA) Akhilesh Mishra has already arrived in Kathmandu, according to the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu. [break] Among others, the Indian delegation comprises Brigadier General Sanal Kumar N, colonels Brij Gopal and Anil Kumar Gupta, SK Singhal of the Operation and Intelligence Department of Border Security Force (BSF) and senior officials from home and defense ministry. Joint Secretary Dipak Dhital, who heads SAARC and South Asia Division at Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), will lead the Nepali delegation in the joint-secretary level meeting. The delegation will include officials from defense, home, and senior officials from Nepal Army, Nepal Police, Armed Police Force and National Investigation Department. “Issues like training, supply of lethal and non-lethal military support and real-time information sharing between the two countries to contain cross border criminal activities will figure in the meeting,” said a top government official. On top of all other agenda, the issue of border management is likely to figure prominently during the meeting. At a recent conference of chief ministers in New Delhi, Nitish Kumar of Bihar and Akhilesh Yadav of Uttar Pradesh had complained that open border with Nepal had posed security challenges in their states. On Sunday, the Indian government decided to deploy police personnel from Jammu and Kashmir along with the Sashastra Seema Bal along the Indo-Nepal border to plug “the Nepal route used by Kashmiri militants to re-enter the Valley”. Among other, the smuggling of fake Indian currency through Nepal has also become one of the prime concerns of India. In a latest case in a point, police on April 4 had arrested a Vietnamese woman with fake Indian currency worth IRs 9.8 million at the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu. Sources said the Nepali side is preparing to request India to resume military assistance in view of the recent positive developments in the peace process. India stopped supplying lethal weapons after the royal takeover in February, 2005.