Indian Budget Has Special Place for Neighbours, especially Bhutan

Bhutan has received the largest share of the amount that the Budget allocated for the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) under “Grants and Loans to Foreign Governments”.

The annual Budget presented by Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman displayed India’s commitment to support the people of its neighbouring countries.

The budget allocated BTN 200 crore for Afghanistan. It also made an allocation of funds for Mauritius (BTN 460 crore), and the port of Chabahar in Iran (BTN 100 crore). The Indian Ocean archipelago of Seychelles will receive BTN 10 crore as assistance during the coming financial year. Myanmar which is facing a civil disorder since February 1, 2021 coup, received a grant of BTN 400 crore and the same amount has also been granted to the Maldives, which has several India-funded development projects currently underway. An amount of BTN 550 crore has been allocated for Nepal under a ”grant”.

But it is Bhutan which will get the lion’s share. Under the budgetary plans, the country will receive BTN 2,400.58 crore out of which BTN 1,632.24 crore will be a “grant” and BTN 768.34 crore will be a part of a “loan”. It has been the top recipient of Budget allocation from India as a number of development projects in the fields of health, digitization and other sectors in the Himalayan country, receive India’s financial assistance.

Later in a meeting with a parliamentary delegation from Bhutan led by the speaker of the national assembly of Bhutan, Wangchuk Namgyel, the Indian Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla said that India’s Neighborhood First Policy under the leadership of Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi has given a new direction to India-Bhutan relations.

He further stated that Government of India is determined to expand the scope of bilateral cooperation with Bhutan keeping in mind the aspirations and priorities of people of Bhutan.

He also told the Members of the delegation that, for the next 25 years, serious and extensive efforts will be made in the fields of agriculture, industry, infrastructure, science, digital economy, green energy, and climate change, in order to make India a developed nation. Adding further he said cooperation from friendly countries will be required to achieve this goal.

Appreciating Bhutan’s goal of becoming a high-income economy by 2034, he assured that India will always be a reliable friend of Bhutan.

Last month, Indian Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra during his official visit to Bhutan reaffirmed the close bond of friendship between the two countries while firmly committing to taking Bhutan and India friendship to the next level of partnership.

The visit that took place between 18-20 January, was an attempt to strengthen the long-standing tradition of regular high-level exchanges between the two countries to discuss issues of mutual interest.

The embassy said the countries had a detailed discussion on bilateral relations including development partnership under Bhutan’s 12th five-year plan, energy cooperation, technology, trade and economic ties, and people-to-people contact.

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