As per data presented to the Lok Sabha by Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh, India had given Rs. 499 crore and Rs. 403 crore to Colombo in 2014-15 and 2015-16 respectively but the amount in the previous fiscal (till March 27) was only Rs. 73 crore.
Singh said India had given a total of Rs. 2,985 crore to Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Myanmar and Afghanistan in 2016-17 while the amount in 2015-16 was Rs. Rs. 7290 and in 2014-15, it was Rs. 6249.
To a specific query on whether relations with neighbouring countries have strained due to the slash in aid, the minister claimed there is no cut as such.
“However, the actual disbursement varies from year to year as per progress/actual need basis of various projects in the relevant year,” he said.
To a separate question, he said India has committed to provide Rs. 4,500 crores to Bhutan during the country’s 11th Five Year Plan from 2013-18.
Asked whether India’s strategic investments in the region are comparable to investments made by China, Mr Singh refused to make any comparison.
“India’s investments and development projects are based on the priorities of India and the country concerned and these stand firmly on their own,” he said.
The minister said India’s aid to these countries cannot be compared to investments made by any other country including China. (Colombo Gazette)