Senior Indian officials have claimed that banned Indian currency notes and the Budhi Gandaki hydropower project did not figure during the state visit of Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli to India that concludes on Sunday (Apr 8).
The issue of exchanging banned Indian currency notes parked in various banks and financial institutions in Nepal and held by the public also found no mention during bilateral meetings between the two prime ministers, officials in Delhi said.
Briefing the media at the External Affairs Ministry upon completion of the meeting between PM Oli and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi, Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said there was no discussion on China and Chinese investment in Nepal.
When some journalists asked about India’s perception of Nepal’s proximity with Beijing and Nepal’s participation in Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative, the Indian foreign secretary said: “We focused on strengthening bilateral ties. There was no discussion about the Budhi Gandaki project too but yes we discussed about Arun III, Pancheshwar projects.”
The Pushpa Kamal Dahal-led government had awarded the contract for the construction of the 1,200 megawatt reservoir project to a Chinese firm whose memorandum of understanding was cancelled by the following Sher Bahadur Deuba-led government.
The Deuba administration also decided to build it with Nepal’s own resources. After Oli came in power, there are speculations that the project could be awarded to a Chinese firm but there is no official word as such from the Energy Ministry.