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.
It is a matter of regret that the issue has been politicized in Nepal and confidential communication from the Embassy has been publicized.
Government of India remains committed to strengthening India-Nepal relations which have withstood the test of time.