Bhutan – In­dia de­vel­op­ment co­op­er­a­tion talks

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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.

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