PM Modi, Oli to hold discussions about check posts on Indo-Nepal border
Inauguration of the integrated check posts (ICPs) located on the Indo-Nepal border will figure in discussions between Nepal’s Prime Minister KP Oli and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi during the former’s visit to India beginning Friday.
The talks between the two PM’s will include issues such as agriculture, energy, connectivity, trade investment and ICPs, senior government officials said.
ICPs are sanitised zones with dedicated passenger and cargo terminals that provide service, including immigration, customs check, quarantine, freight forwarding, information and communication technology management, financial institutions and others for the convenience of traders. The officials added that discussions on the check posts will be held considering the diplomatic success they can produce for India vis-a-vis its relationship with Nepal in the backdrop of an aggressive posturing by China.
Nepal relies heavily on China and India for its import business and the two Asian giants are seen as global power that are competing for greater dominance in the region. In 2005, India and Nepal signed a memorandum of understanding for the construction of ICPs in four major border points along Indo-Nepal border, namely Raxaul (India)- Birgunj (Nepal), Jogbani (India)-Biratnagar (Nepal), Sunauli (India) - Bhairahawa (Nepal) and Nepalgunj Road (India)- Nepalgunj (Nepal).
“Of the four, work on the Raxual-Birgunj and Jogbani-Biratnagar is complete on the Indian side, but the construction on the other side has run into some issues,” a senior home ministry official said, adding that the Indian government will discuss the “pace of work” with the Nepalese delegation. On the Indian side, both ICP’s are located in Bihar.
Under the agreement, while Nepal is required to provide the land for the ICPs, the cost of constructing them is being borne by the Centre. Other than benefiting trade relations, the ICPs are also expected to strengthen mechanisms for cross-border travel, immigration and border security which is a priority for India.
Sashastra Seema Bal is one of the five government institutions responsible for the functioning and security of the ICPs. The others include customs department, state police, investigating agencies and immigration.
The inauguration will happen once all the agencies are on board, especially immigration and customs departments. Operationalising ICPs will help our forces to guard the border effectively, a senior SSB official said requesting anonymity.