Tight-fisted neighbour? Indian aid to SAARC nations falls

Going by government data, assistance fell from Rs. 5,928.6 crore for 2013-14 to Rs. 3,483.6 crore for 2017-18; but Maldives has been an outlier, despite the dip in ties
India’s financial assistance to SAARC neighbours declined considerably in the past five years, a reply by the government in Parliament this week showed. The startling figures were revealed in the Lok Sabha in answer to a question whether India had completed projects committed to countries in the neighbourhood. Minister of State for External Affairs V.K. Singh submitted a chart of India’s grant assistance (GA), or projects financed through a grant, to neighbouring countries. According to the figures, the GA actually fell from Rs. 5,928.6 crore for 2013-14 to Rs. 3,483.6 crore for 2017-18 for Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, the Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka combined.In Afghanistan, India has shifted to work on small development projects (SDPs) rather than the ambitious highways, dams and big building projects that were started in 2008-09. In Bangladesh, the main grant for land acquisition for the Akhaura-Agartala rail “last link” project has now been completed. In Bhutan, which has always received the largest share of Indian assistance, the assistance required for major hydroelectric power plants like Punatsanghchu 1 and 2 and Mangdechu has been disbursed 75-90%, said officials, while Indian assistance to Bhutan’s 11th five-year plan (2013-2017) has been handed over nearly fully. In Sri Lanka, the decline was explained by delays in land acquisition for 15,000 homes to be built by India in the plantation areas, though the work on 45,000 homes in the north and east of the island has been completed.
India is still completing three main projects in Maldives: a police academy, a coastal radar project, and the refit of MNDF ship Huravee . An offer to build a new Defence Ministry building is pending, which explains why the Maldives alone is the outlier to an otherwise declining trend in neighbourhood aid.
Source : https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tight-fisted-neighbour-indian-aid-to-saarc-nations-falls/article24668499.ece

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