India plans for 54B financial support to Tobgay government

Indian government is working on a Rs 54 billion financial aid to Bhutan as the newly-elected Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay is set to visit New Delhi from August 30 to September 2.

According to Indian media reports, New Delhi and Thimphu are chalking out the financial assistance in three categories — Rs 45 billion for the 11th Five-Year-Plan, Rs 5 billion as an “economic stimulus plan” and Rs 4 billion for spill-over activities from the previous 10th Five-Year-Plan.

Reports quoted sources saying the only significant rider from the Indian side in the disbursal of funds will be to ensure “accountability”. There would be “checks and balances” so that the funds are utilised by the Bhutanese government “properly and judiciously”, they said.

Talks between Indian and Bhutanese officials started when a six-member delegation visited Thimphu last week. The Indian Ministry of External Affairs Special Secretary of Development Partnership Administration P S Raghavan led the delegation, which opened the negotiations with Bhutan.

The proposed financial assistance will be used in areas such as improving infrastructure and road connectivity. The Himalayan nation’s roads are in a bad shape and the new regime had promised to better the road conditions.

Also, the Indian government plans to support a variety of small development projects in Bhutan’s interiors. The new Indian envoy V P Haran has been tasked by South Block to work with Bhutanese authorities on identifying such projects.

The Indian government has been more cooperative to the new government, after it tactfully flushed out Jigmi Thinley who bypassed Indian interests and reached out to Chinese counterpart.

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