Foreign minister makes wrong claim about mentions of Koshi high dam in Nepal-India joint statements
Sujit Mainali / July 18, 2018
Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali speaking to Sagarmatha Television’s STV Chat program aired on June 14, 2018, rebuffed rumors that the proposed connectivity between Nepal and India through waterways is linked to the Sapta Koshi High Dam project.
He said: “After realizing that construction of a high dam on the Koshi River may cause huge losses in the vicinity, we did not mention it in the joint statement (issued by Prime Minister KP Oli and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi). If you study the joint statements issued over the past 10-15 years, you can see that not a single one of them has failed to mention Koshi high dam. The same thing was copied over and over. But we, for the first time, have put in the joint statement only those things that both Nepal and India are convinced with.”
South Asia Check has examined whether Gyawali’s claim is fact-based or not.
We studied the joint statements issued by the prime ministers of Nepal and India since the political change of 1990.
Koshi high dam was mentioned for the first time in the joint statement issued by Nepali Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala and his Indian counterpart PV Narasimha Rao on December 6, 1991 during Koirala’s India visit.
The statement read as follows, “In the kea area, which has the maximum potential for revolutionizing bilateral cooperation, a number of decisions concerning the Karnali, Pancheshwar and Sapta Koshi Hydel/Multipurpose projects…have been reached.”
At that time, spokesman of the Ministry of Water Resource of Nepal had said that Sapta Koshi Hydel/Multipurpose Project mentioned in the joint statement was Sapta Koshi High Dam Multi-Purpose Project. Elaborating on the statement, the spokesman said, “As regards Sapta Koshi High Dam Multipurpose Project, joint studies and investigation, which are necessary to finalize the parameter of the Sapta Koshi High Dam Multi-Purpose Project will be carried out expeditiously.”
Since then, 15 joint statements have been issued by the prime ministers of the two countries and only seven of them have mentioned Koshi high dam.
Therefore, Foreign Minister Gyawali’s claim is wrong.
|Date of signing of Joint Statement||Prime Minister||Koshi high dam|
|December 6, 1991||Girija Prasad Koirala||Mentioned|
|October 21, 1992||Girija Prasad Koirala||Mentioned|
|April 12, 1995||Man Mohan Adhikari||Not mentioned|
|February 17, 1996||Sher Bahadur Deuba||Mentioned|
|June 7, 1997||Lokendra Bahadur Chand||Not mentioned|
|August 3, 2000||Girija Prasad Koirala||Mentioned|
|March 23, 2002||Sher Bahadur Deuba||Mentioned|
|September 12, 2004||Sher Bahadur Deuba||Mentioned|
|June 9, 2006||Girija Prasad Koirala||Not mentioned|
|September 17, 2008||Pushpa Kamal Dahal||Not mentioned|
|August 22, 2009||Madhav Kumar Nepal||Mentioned|
|October 23, 2011||Baburam Bhattarai||Not mentioned|
|August 4, 2014||Sushil Koirala||Not mentioned|
|September 16, 2016||Pushpa Kamal Dahal||Not mentioned|
|August 24, 2017||Sher Bahadur Deuba||Mentioned|
|April 7, 2018||KP Oli||Not mentioned|
- Avatar Singh Bhasin, ed. 2005. Nepal-India, Nepal-China Relations: Documents, 1947-June 2005, Vol. 1. New Delhi : Geetika Publishers.
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Nepal.
- Ministry of External Affairs, India.
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