India seeks USD 48,000 compensation from Nepal
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Last Updated: Sunday, December 05, 2010, 18:14
Kathmandu: A state-owned security printing press from India has demanded USD 48,000 compensation from the government for the loss suffered due to the unilateral cancellation of a deal to supply smart passports for Nepal, following pressure from Nepalese political parties.

Security Printing and Minting Corporation India Ltd. has sent a letter to Nepal's Ministry of Foreign Affairs seeking USD 48,000 compensation for the loss caused due to the cancellation of the order to supply Machine Readable Passports (MRP) at the last minute, according to Foreign Ministry sources here.

The Indian company had claimed that it had began procuring paper, ink and other necessary logistic supplies from international market as per the deal.

Indian Ambassador to Nepal Rakesh Sood and Foreign Secretary Madan Kumar Bhattarai had signed a letter of exchange on March 25 to supply some 3 million smart passports.

The government later cancelled the order under Maoists pressure and called for a fresh tender. French company Oberther won the tender as it had submitted the lowest bid.

Even as India and Nepal have open borders, New Delhi has been concerned that international terrorist networks, particularly those supported by the Pakistani spy agency ISI, were using the porous border to push arms, narcotics and counterfeit currency.

As such, India has sought to incorporate special security features in Nepali passports so as to make it difficult to tamper.

However, Nepal's coalition government cancelled the contract after pressure from its own allies as well as the main opposition Maoist party.


First Published: Sunday, December 05, 2010, 18:14

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