National identity card mandatory for Indians to enter Nepal

Nepal government has mandated Indian nationals entering Nepal via land to carry government-issued identity cards so as to prevent illegal entry of foreign nationals.

Acting Prime Minister and Home Minister Bal Krishna Khand chaired a meeting of the Central Security Committee with officials from the Army, Police, Armed Police Force, National Investigation Department and Immigration Department on Friday focusing on border management and border crime prevention and control, and made the decision to this effect.

The identity cards are aimed at easy identification of Indian nationals since nationals from other countries besides India started entering Nepal illegally via southern border points.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA) has informed that a circular will soon be issued to all four security agencies and District Administration Offices to implement the decision.

According to the Ministry, it has asked agencies concerned to increase surveillance at border points with CCTV and other technology, check the identity cards of those entering from India at the entry points, conduct verbal interrogation, and increase security at checkpoints.

Meanwhile, Home Minister Khand convened another meeting of the Central Security Committee on Sunday in the presence of officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Labour and Employment; Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation; and Health and Population to take diplomatic initiatives in the long run to implement further decisions focusing on border security and regulation of foreign nationals.

Citizens of conflict-affected countries, in particular Afghanistan, have entered Nepal and are residing in the country in the guise of refugees of late.

Earlier, 11 Afghan nationals disguised as Indians were arrested from Sinamangal of Kathmandu on September 28. They had entered the country through Belahiya Naka in Rupandehi. Similarly, a recent police investigation revealed that Rohingya refugees displaced from Myanmar were being brought to Kathmandu by human traffickers via land border points.

MoHA spokesperson Phanindra Mani Pokharel said that in order to prevent the recurrence of such incidents and to prevent possible fake entries from third countries, it was necessary to mandate ID cards for Indian nationals trying to enter Nepal. He said that this decision would help in the easy identification and tracking of Indian citizens and also help in COVID-19 prevention and control.

Security expert Narayan Adhikari said that the decision of the Central Security Committee to make identity cards mandatory for Indian nationals entering would be appropriate and an important factor for border regulation as well as border crime prevention.

“The decision will help in controlling terrorism, cross-border crime, refugees seeking entry from third countries, etc. The government should designate definite and auxiliary checkpoints for people to cross the border,” he said.