India regrets politicization of scrapped passport deal with Nepal | world | Hindustan Times
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India regrets politicization of scrapped passport deal with Nepal

India has expressed regret at politicization of the deal with Nepal to supply machine-readable passports (MRPs), which forced the Nepal government to revoke the contract on Sunday.

world Updated: Apr 13, 2010 16:56 IST
Utpal Parashar

India has expressed regret at politicization of the deal with Nepal to supply machine-readable passports (MRPs), which forced the Nepal government to revoke the contract on Sunday.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu also expressed disappointment over leaking of confidential communication regarding the deal.

"It is a matter of regret that the matter has been politicized in Nepal and confidential communication from the embassy has been publicized," the statement mentioned.

On Sunday, evening the Nepal government had scrapped the deal with India for supply of over four million MRPs at $4 per piece following political pressure especially from the opposition Maoists.

A Maoist leader in parliament also displayed a letter written by Indian Ambassador to Nepal Rakesh Sood to Foreign Minister Sujata Koirala regarding the deal in December on Sunday.

Citing a statement in the letter, which stated that the supply of MRPs would also address India's security concerns along the open Indo-Nepal border-the opposition Maoists termed it a threat to Nepal's security.

Sood had met Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal at the latter's residence on Tuesday morning to express his disappointment at the scrapping of the deal.

The statement said that India agreed to supply MRPs through Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India Limited at a concessional price as a gesture of goodwill and friendly relations between both nations.

The Indian government had also agreed to provide technical assistance at its own cost and train Nepalese officials for personalization of the MRPs.

A contract for printing the MRPs was signed between the Nepal foreign ministry and SPMCIL on March 26 this year and the Indian government firm had initiated work on them before the deal was scrapped.