India, Bhutan review development cooperation, agree to implement new projects

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New Delhi, Jun 28 (PTI) India and Bhutan reviewed the entire gamut of their development partnership on Monday with both sides agreeing to implement some new projects in the Himalayan nation across various sectors such as road infrastructure, water management and COVID-19 management.

The Third India-Bhutan Development Cooperation Talks were held virtually. While the Indian delegation was led by Rahul Chhabra, Secretary (Economic Relations), Ministry of External Affairs, the Bhutanese delegation was led by Kinga Singye, the Foreign Secretary, the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement.

The Indian government has committed Rs 4,500 crore for the implementation of development projects and Rs 400 crore for the transitional Trade Support Facility during Bhutan's 12th Five Year Plan (2018-2023), it said.

As many as 77 large and intermediate projects and 524 Small Development Projects (SDPs)/High Impact Community Development Projects (HICDPs) are at various stages of implementation under the 12th Five Year Plan, the MEA said.

With Bhutan's 12th Five Year Plan (2018-2023) completing its third year, the two sides reviewed the overall progress of the ongoing Project Tied Assistance (PTA) projects, as well as the SDPs/HICDPs.

Bhutan's Foreign Secretary commended India's role in the socio-economic transformation of the Himalayan nation and also highlighted the impact of HICDPs at the grassroots level, the MEA said.

He also appreciated India's gesture to frontload the release of funds for various projects in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the talks, both sides also agreed to implement some new PTA projects across various sectors, including road infrastructure, water management, industrial parks and COVID-19 management, the statement said.

Indian Ambassador to Bhutan Ruchira Kamboj also attended the talks.

The Bilateral Development Cooperation Talks is an important bilateral mechanism to review the entire gamut of India's development partnership with Bhutan. India deeply values its privileged partnership with Bhutan. The Indian side remains committed to continue to support Bhutan in its development efforts, the MEA said.

The two sides agreed to hold the next Development Cooperation Talks on a mutually agreed date. The Development Cooperation Talks were held in a friendly atmosphere in keeping with the special relationship between the two countries, according to the MEA statement. PTI ASK NSD NSD

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