Bhutan – India development cooperation talks
The third round of the Bhutan-India Development Cooperation Talks for the 11thFive Year Plan was held in the capital last Thursday. The Bhutanese delegation was led by Foreign Secretary Yeshey Dorji and the Indian Delegation by Secretary, Economic Relations (ER) & Development Partnership Administration (DPA), Ms. Sujata Mehta.
The Plan Talks are a regular feature of Bhutan-India Development Cooperation as India is the oldest and a privileged development partner of Bhutan in its socio-economic development ever since the first Five Year Plan in 1961. India’s commitment of Nu. 45 billion for the 11th Five Year Plan, excluding the Nu. 5 billion for the Economic Stimulus Plan, constitutes about 67% of the total external assistance Bhutan will be receiving during the Plan.
During the Talks, the two sides reviewed the government of India assistance of Nu. 45 billion to the 11th Five Year Plan, which includes the following components: Nu. 8.5 billion for Program Grant, Nu. 8.5 billion for Small Development Projects (SDP) and Nu. 28 billion for Project Tied Assistance (PTA).
The main focus of the Talks was on the PTA. The two sides finalized a total of 84 PTA projects to be implemented under the 11thFive Year Plan, which includes the 48 projects which were approved during the current round of Plan Talks.
Noting that the first year of the Plan has already passed, the two sides agreed to speed up the implementation of the mutually agreed projects. In this regard, the Bhutanese side assured to exert every effort to ensure that all projects adhere to their projected timelines and the Indian side assured timely release of funds.
The two sides agreed to convene the SDP Committee Meeting at the earliest possible time.
The Talks were held in a very warm, friendly and constructive atmosphere reflecting the spirit of mutual trust, cooperation and understanding that underpins the India-Bhutan bilateral partnership.
During her stay in the capital Ms. Mehta and her delegation was granted an audience by His Majesty the King last Friday.