India Claims Passport Issue “Politicized” in Nepal but…

May be it was politicized which is not the case when seen from the Nepali nationalistic point of view but, the Indian embassy doesn’t say, it was for a good and valid reason. The embassy press statement issued today also hides the fact that it was India that sought the passport contract from Nepal disregarding the legal tender process. Can we politely say here to India: “Please, we don’t want your help in passport printing. We will do that ourselves. You print your own passports, install whatever you want to install in your own offices. Thank you.” And what’s so confidential about the undiplomatic letter that the Indian ambassador wrote to the Nepali foreign minister? Can’t we, the citizens, see what foreign ambassador writes to our minister, our foreign secretary?

Here’s the statement that the Indian embassy issued in Kathmandu today:

Attention of the Embassy has been drawn to the media reports regarding Government of Nepal’s decision to cancel the contract between Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of Nepal for supply of machine readable passport.

India agreed to supply the machine readable passport booklets through its Government Undertaking, Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India (SPMCIL), at a concessional price, as a gesture of goodwill and in keeping with the friendly relations between the two countries. In the spirit of mutual cooperation, the Government of India further agreed to provide, at its cost, technical assistance, which included supply of software and hardware equipment, installation of these equipments at the Central passport Office in Kathmandu and training of GON officials for personalization of Machine Readable Passports. Letters were exchanged by the Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Nepal and the Ambassador of India, Kathmandu on March 23, 2010. A contract was signed between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Nepal and SPMCIL for printing the passport booklets on March 26, 2010. The arrangements agreed with the Government of Nepal would have allowed it to issue machine readable passports by early-June 2010. To ensure this, SPMCIL and the Government of India have already initiated action. Continue reading India Claims Passport Issue “Politicized” in Nepal but…

Proof: India Asked for Passport Contract from Nepal

indian ambassador letter to nepali foreign minister 1
first page of the indian letter to nepali foreign minister

It has been revealed that Indian government wanted machine readable passport printing contract from Nepal. A confidential letter (above, page 1 and below, page 2) written by the Indian ambassador in Kathmandu to the Nepali foreign minister was disclosed today which clearly indicates it was the Indian government that had sought to get the contract for printing nearly 4 million Nepali passports. It was not clear who leaked the letter to the Maoists- the Indian Embassy or the Nepali Foreign Ministry.

Written by India’s ambassador to Nepal Rakesh Sood to Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Sujata Koirala, the letter, sent in December, pointed out that “India and Nepal share an open border regime under which Nepali citizens do not require a visa to travel to India and vice-a-versa. In recent times, the open border has also been a source of certain security concerns which have been shared with the Nepali leaders at the highest level.” Continue reading Proof: India Asked for Passport Contract from Nepal

Nepal Scraps MRP (Machine Readable Passport) Print Deal with India

People Power Supreme, Sujata Resign

History has shown time and again that Nepali people, not their leaders or the kings in old days, are the best protector and guardian of their country and national interest. One leader may come up once in a while with a price tag of Nepali nationality and pride and try to sell that to foreign powers but people of Nepal united in such occasion to unmask such ‘leader’ and torn him/her apart. With the decision of cabinet today evening to cancel the controversial and anti-national Machine Readable Passport printing deal with India it has proved once again that the people power in Nepal is supreme.

The Cabinet meeting that took place in the official residence of Prime Minister Mahdav Kumar Nepal decided to select a supplier through a competitive bidding process as directed by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the parliament. It is also victory of rule of law and democracy and freedom in Nepal. It is a severe blow to the likes of Sujata Koirala who put the national interest at stake to appease her Indian masters. It is also a punch on the face of MK Nepal who bowed to Sujata’s and India’s pressure to give the MRP printing deal to Indian government agency.

It is the second instance of the failure of foreign power in Nepal- the first being in 2006 when India openly advocated for a form of monarchy in Nepal. The Nepali people kicked that Indian design and continued with their historic protests that ultimately declared Nepal a republic.

The Indian intervention and some Nepali leaders’ surrendering was so stunning in this MRP scandal that even pro-Indian establishment newspapers like Times of India are writing that Indians did what they should have never done.

It also shows up India’s Nepal policy in a poor light yet again. The passport contract was discussed by External Affairs Minister S M Krishna himself and the ministerial involvement, when it was common knowledge that a tender process was already in place, shows the Indian establishment’s chronic tendency to become dubiously involved in deals.

The Nepal government had floated a global tender and shortlisted four foreign companies to prin machine-readable passports. However, the tender process was stopped on the insistence of the Foreign Minister and given to the Indian state undertaking despite it quoting a higher rate and despite the Public Accounts Committee of parliament asking the government to follow the tender procedure.

The issue is now in court as well after two individuals filed public interest litigation applications separately. The Supreme Court will begin hearing them from Monday when it has asked the prime minister and foreign minister to appear before it.

Let Sujata Koirala carry Indian passport. We have no objection. Let her go to India and apply for the job of Indian Foreign Minister SM Krishna’s private secretary, we have no objection. But the woman of suspicious character can’t sell our country to India. For failing to protect the national interest and working against the very oath that she took while assuming the post of Nepal’s Foreign Minister, Sujata Koirala must resign now. If not, she should be sacked. Prime Minister MK Nepal should publicly apologize to the nation for putting the Nepali people through such demeaning and demoralizing situation. We have so many other things that we procure from India. But for God’s sake, we don’t want to travel the world carrying a passport that is printed in India. And that too, by brazenly disregarding the legal competitive process of tender. We don’t.

Another good news of the evening is that the UCPN (Maoist) has called off its nationwide general strike scheduled for Monday (tomorrow) against the MRP deal with India. “We called off the general strike as the objective behind it has been addressed,” said Maoist senior vice chairman Mohan Baidya, according to Republica. He said that the scrapping of the MRP deal with India proved that the government was wrong. “We have expected that the government would be dissolved on moral grounds.” Baidya said.

Continue reading Nepal Scraps MRP (Machine Readable Passport) Print Deal with India

Rising Naxal Insurgency. Challenge for Rising India

DW’s article on India’s Naxal war for Kantipur भारतको ‘नक्सली’ युद्ध

naxal war challenge for india
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Why can’t those who can bring peace (or create war!) in other countries do the same in their own society?

By Dinesh Wagle

Do you know what the update was from India’s commercial capital a day after the ghastly Maoist attack in Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh last Tuesday? “The stock market barometer Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) Sensex crossed the 18,000-mark for the first time in 25 months on Wednesday,” said a report posted on the website of The Hindustan Times. “Crossing 18,000 is a healthy sign and foreign institutional investors (FIIs) support continues,” said Divyesh Shah, CEO, Indiabulls Securities. Continue reading Rising Naxal Insurgency. Challenge for Rising India

An Indian ambassador remembers GP Koirala

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Professor Bimal Prasad recalls his days in Kathmandu as India’s ambassador to Nepal when GPK was the Prime Minister.

professor bimal prasad
Prof. Prasad

By Dinesh Wagle

Bimal Prasad, in a way, is the first ‘official’ Indian to observe very closely the transformation of Girija Prasad Koirala from a leader on the street to the prime minister of a majority government. Professor Prasad was India’s ambassador in Kathmandu when Koirala became premier for the first time on 26 May 1991. “I had known Giirjababu long before that,” recalled 85-year-old Prasad a few days after Koirala’s demise. “We used to go to see BP Koirala while he was in Delhi (in the 70s). Girijababu wouldn’t talk much during those days.”

india remembers koirala kathmandu post special supplement
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By the time he became the PM, Koirala was no more under the shadow of BP as ‘shy’ brother of ‘few words’. He had almost established himself as the most important leader in the Nepali Congress. “He was an able Prime Minister,” said Prasad. “There were problems within the party. His relationships with Kishunji and Ganeshmanji deteriorated.” Had Koirala solved the intraparty feud and mended his relationship with communists like he did during the last years of his life Nepal wouldn’t have suffered as much. “He was a strong leader but not without shortcomings,” Prasad said. Continue reading An Indian ambassador remembers GP Koirala