India pledges Rs.4,500 crore project aid to Bhutan

New Delhi(IANS) India on Wednesday pledged Rs.4,500 crore of project assistance to close neighbour Bhutan.

The assistance for Bhutan’s 11th Five Year Plan (July 2013-June 2018) was decided at the Fourth Annual India-Bhutan Development Cooperation Talks held here.

The Indian delegation was led by Sujata Mehta, secretary economic relations at the external affairs ministry, and the Bhutanese delegation by Dasho Tshering Dorji, foreign secretary of Bhutan.

The annual Development Cooperation Talks are the umbrella mechanism for discussing India’s bilateral developmental assistance to Bhutan.

With Bhutan’s 11th Five Year Plan entering its third year, the two sides reviewed the overall progress of Project Tied Assistance (PTA) projects and agreed to a reprioritised list of projects.

The two sides also noted with satisfaction the overall progress of the Small Development Projects (SDPs).

Of the Rs.4,500 crore amount, Rs.2,800 crore was for PTA, Rs.850 crore for Programme Grant and Rs.850 crore for SDPs for Bhutan’s 11th Five Year Plan.

A total of 85 PTA projects and 485 SDPs have been broadly agreed for implementation during the current Plan period, said a ministry statement.

The Bhutanese side thanked the Indian side for the steady and timely disbursement of funds and also highlighted fund release priorities for the next one year.

The two sides agreed to hold the next annual Development Cooperation Talks in 2016 in Thimphu on a mutually agreed date.

The 4th Annual India-Bhutan Development Cooperation Talks were successfully held in a friendly atmosphere in keeping with the close partnership between the two countries, it said.

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