Nepal-India Border Blockade Creating Huge Economic Crisis

A blockade of the border between India and Nepal since September has brought trade between the two countries to a standstill and created critical shortages of supplies essential to both social services and the economy , according to the Journal of Commerce.

Food, medical supplies and fuel have been in short supply in the mountainous nation of Nepal that shares a 1,800-mile border with India ever since a bitter dispute erupted. Both countries blame the other for the border closure that is also affecting rebuilding efforts following last year’s earthquakes.

Since the economic blockade began, exports have fallen 25.4 percent and imports have tumbled 31.9 percent, according to the data provided by Nepal Rastra Bank.

One of the commodities Nepal is desperate for is fuel. Due to the ongoing crisis, thousands of cargo trucks are stalled at the Indian border.  Nepalese gas stations have received only 15% of regular fuel supplies, which is making survival difficult.  The country is dependent on India for all its fuel imports and as supplies have dried up severe rationing has been imposed across the country, bringing manufacturing to a halt and grounding crucial aviation services.

The current shortage is causing commercial flights to be rerouted. Hong Kong-based Dragonair, which flies a passenger service into Kathmandu, returns via the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka where it takes on passengers and also refuels.  The inability to refuel in Kathmandu meant planes have had to cut back on passenger and cargo loads for the one-hour flight to Dhaka.

So far negotiations between the leaders of the two countries have failed to solve the ongoing crisis.

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