A three-day 7th annual coordination meeting between Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) and Nepal’s Armed Police Force (APF) concluded on Thursday with a strong commitment to bolster bilateral security efforts. Both sides unanimously resolved to implement additional measures to strengthen coordination and collaboration between the two border guarding forces, said the SSB in a statement after the meeting concluded.
Deliberations during the meeting focused on the security scenario along the 1,751 km India-Nepal border running along Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal and Sikkim. “Emphasis was laid on curbing trans-border crimes, smuggling of arms and ammunition, as well as combating human trafficking, etc. across the open and unfenced India-Nepal border,” said the SSB.
The help desks established by both APF and SSB at major transit points along the Indo-Nepal border will remain operational to facilitate the movement of citizens from both nations, particularly during festive seasons. As per the statement, there was consensus on expanding the exchange-programs and exposure visits between both the forces as part of mutual capacity-building efforts. The next coordination meeting is scheduled to take place in Nepal next year. The Indian delegation, led by SSB Director General Rashmi Shukla, comprised officials from the Indian border guarding force, the Ministry of Home Affairs, and the Ministry of External Affairs.
The Nepalese delegation, led by Inspector General of Nepal’s APF Raju Aryal, included representatives from the force, Nepal Police, the National Investigation Department, Nepal, and the Embassy of Nepal in Delhi. This annual meet is significant as the heads of the SSB and the APF engage in discussions on border-related matters. The last coordination meeting between the two border guarding forces was held at Kathmandu in September 2022.
Working under the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, the SSB is responsible to guard the 1,751 km India-Nepal open international border. The ‘open’ border between India and Nepal is established under the Treaty of Peace and Friendship, which the two countries signed in 1950. Provisions within the treaty give citizens of both countries equal rights in matters of residence, acquisition of property and employment, and movement in each other’s territory. As per these provisions, the citizens of India and Nepal can cross their shared borders without passport and visa restrictions.