Nonstate actors and the open border policy: the border security case study of Nepal and India
Forester, Andrea Blair Hernandez
Gomez, Rodrigo Nieto
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Both scholars and politicians continually debate how to best address border security issues. As events such as 9/11 have proven, even when states implement a restricted border policy, that action may not be enough. It is the nonstate actors—individuals or organizations with significant political influence but not allied to any particular country or state—that significantly impact border relations. To better secure a border, whether restricted or open, these nonstate state actors must be maintained. This research examines three central border security issues: how and which nonstate actors influence the security of state borders, and whether countries can make borders more secure. The analysis focuses specifically on the bordering states of India and Nepal, two countries engaged in open border policy for military and economic reasons that, at the same time, face issues such as of transnational crime organizations, economic disparities, and political tension. Two case studies, one of an open border and one of a restricted border, provide a framework for analysis and recommendation for the challenges that Nepal and India face. At conclusion of this research, findings proved that it is indeed nonstate actors that have the most impact on border security. Despite open or restricted border policies being implemented, nonstate actors, such as criminal organizations, existed in the framing case studies as well as the border of Nepal and India. How each state chose to address these security issues varied. The U.S.-Mexico case study showed a restricted border where the U.S. enforced more security while Mexico implemented programs to improve border activity. The open border between Poland and Germany also saw an increase in criminal activity but used minimized use of border security. For India and Nepal the tools of a decent and valuable border security team are available to both these countries, but need to be implemented to better protect an open border.
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