Foreign minister makes wrong claim about mentions of Koshi high dam in Nepal-India joint statements

Sujit Mainali / July 18, 2018

Photo: Youtube/SagarmathaTV

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



This material is copyrighted but may be used for any purpose by giving due credit to