KATHMANDU, June 27: In an apparent bid to discourage the use of Aadhar card as identification document outside the country, the Indian government has made it mandatory for its nationals travelling to Nepal to carry either a valid passport or election ID card as identification document.
In a recent communiqué, Indian Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA) said Aadhaar card is not a valid identification document for Indians travelling to Nepal, with which India has open border. "Aadhaar is not an acceptable travel document for travel to Nepal and Bhutan," a communique issued by the ministry said.
The Aadhaar card, which has a 12-digit unique identification number and includes personal details like name and address, serves as a proof of identification and residence of Indian nationals. The government of Narendra Modi has made Aadhaar card mandatory for a host of things, including government subsidies on LPG and other social welfare schemes.
However, the ministry, in view of easing the travel, has said persons over 65 and below 15 years can show documents with photographs to confirm their age and identity. These documents include PAN card, driving licence, Central Government Health Service (CGHS) card and ration card, Indian official news agency PTI reported.
Indian nationals travelling to Nepal and Bhutan do not require visa, but require showing official identification documents. While Indians entering Bhutan by road are required to obtain an 'Entry Permit' on the basis of a valid travel document from the Bhutanese immigration office in the border, the border with Nepal is an open one with people who enter the country needing to show any valid identity card.
Nepal shares borders with five Indian states such as Sikkim, West Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. Around six lakh Indians are living or domiciled in Nepal, according to PTI.
Nepal's Home Ministry spokesperson Dipak Kafle said they have no knowledge about the new decision of the Indian government. "Our customs officials normally seek a valid identification document if necessary. We have not received any communication from the Indian side on the matter,” Kafle told Republica.