1 - 7 August 2014 #718

“We’re don’t want to capture anything”

Interview with Indian Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj by Rishi Dhamala in Ghatana ra Bichar, 30 July

Rishi Dhamala: Rumour has it the covert motive of Modi’s visit is to capture Nepal’s water resources.

Sushma Swaraj: I felt very sad to read about that in the papers before I came here. We don’t want to capture the territory or resources of our friends. We want to see Nepal develop and Nepali people happy. We never have and never will have the intention to capture land from the country that is home to Pashupatinath, Janaki, and Gautam Buddha. That is why I want to appeal to intellectuals at all levels that we have no negative stance towards Nepal. We want to develop hydropower in Nepal through big projects, and we only want to buy surplus power. Let there be electricity in every Nepali’s home first. We have no policy of monopolising Nepal’s water resources.

But the proposal for hydropower cooperation was controversial?

I saw no reason for alarm. Still, we have agreed both countries’ ministers will sit together and work out an agreement. We are ready to clear misgivings and correct mistakes in that document. It is Nepal’s sovereign right to work out its own agreement. India will always respect that.

So, India doesn’t want to monopolise hydrpower in Nepal? 

Absolutely. I urge everyone not to believe such rumours. Our Prime Minister met yours at the swearing-in ceremony in Delhi, and told him India wished to see big hydropower projects develop in Nepal and suggested it could be a way towards prosperity for Nepal. Nepal has a huge trade deficit with India and we believe trading power could help minimise the gap. One quick way to do that is for Nepal to develop power and sell what is excess to India.