The Minister for Home and Cultural Affairs, HE Ugyen Dorji while inaugurating the cultural evening on the eve of the fourth Y-20 consultation meeting in Pune said that India holding the G20 presidency is a matter of pride for the whole of South Asia, including Bhutan. Y20 is a forum for youth from all G20 member countries to hold dialogue over various issues.
India and Bhutan share a special bilateral relationship. Bhutan has the most significant share of the allocated budget for the Ministry of External Affairs ( MEA) under Grants and Loans to Foreign Governments. Under the budgetary plans, Bhutan will receive 2,400.58 crores out of which 1,632.24 crores will be a “grant” and 768.34 crores will be a part of a “loan”. Bhutan will financial assistance from India for a number of development projects in the fields of health, digitisation and other sectors.
The 5th Bhutan-India Small Development Project (SDP)/High Impact Community Development Project (HICDP) Committee meeting between the Royal Government of Bhutan and the Government of India for the 12th Five Year Plan (FYP) was held in Thimphu on 28th February.
The Committee reviewed the progress of 524 Projects being implemented across 20 Dzongkhags and 4 Thromdes in Bhutan and approved Rs. 850 Crore for local governments in areas such as water supply, urban infrastructure, agricultural roads, irrigation channels, bridges, health and education infrastructure. India also extended initial grant assistance of 100 Crore towards the Gyalsung Project to help Bhutan’s youth participate in nation-building.
India’s Ambassador to Bhutan, Sudhakar Dalela, handed over the grant in a special ceremony. India is expected to continue its development assistance partnership with Bhutan under its ‘Neighbourhood First Policy’ as Thimpu shall keep growing its development agenda.
India while holding the G20 presidency will keep pushing the agendas that matter to the developing countries. Reforming international institutions, health, education, gender, climate and environment are issues that need attention. Since India’s foreign policy has always highlighted its ‘neighbourhood first’ policy, it will make the most of the G20 presidency to push forward agendas while keeping the larger interest of the region in mind.