Bhutan continues to lead the pack of South Asian nations to receive developmental assistance from India. India’s developmental aid to six SAARC nations over the last four years amounted to over INR 21,100 crore, according to the Indian government.
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India extended developmental support to six South Asian neighbouring countries, which included Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka, according to Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh.
The total developmental aid to Afghanistan from 2014-15 to 2017-18 was INR 2,232.94 crore. Bangladesh received an aid of INR 514.13 crore, and Bhutan received a whopping INR 15,680.97 crore developmental package.
The developmental assistance to the Maldives during the same period was Rs 270.39 crore, while Nepal received about Rs 1,322.54 crore and Sri Lanka got Rs 1,080.55 crore.
India-Bhutan Relations: A Brief Overview
On August 8, 1949, India and Bhutan signed the Treaty of Friendship, calling for peace between the two nations and non-interference in each other’s internal affairs. However, Bhutan allowed to let India “lead” its foreign policy and both nations would consult each other closely on foreign and defence matters.
The agreement also secured free trade and extradition protocols. Experts regard the effect of the treaty is to make Bhutan into a protected state, but not a protectorate because Bhutan maintains the power to administer its own foreign policy.