Major issues discussed with Indian Foreign Secretary: PM

Responding to the question asked on the major issues discussed with the Indian Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra, Lyonchhen Dasho Dr Lotay Tshering said that the visit was successful. They were able to successfully address most of the pending issues as he is someone who is powerful and has the authority to do so.

Foreign Ministry is very happy with a successful conduct of plan talks and for the first time the Indian Foreign Secretary has led the team. They were to sort out the past issues bilaterally and from the plan talks, they committed to release the remaining budget of the 12th Five Year Plan (FYP) as soon as possible.

Until now, Lyonchhen said that almost 85 to 86 percent of the budget has been released and finished. It has never happened before. They are very satisfied and it is not that there were intentions to delay in other times, but this time the former and current ambassadors are also on it on a daily basis on this.

Officials from Delhi are very receptive and from Bhutan’s side, timely sharing of information on the projects are done which is why they felt that it is one of the most efficient releases of the budget.

“Some of the budgets are being released even before it was asked. Of the Nu 45 bn that they have committed, only Nu 7 bn remains which is acceptable as an excellent result. We look forward to the same in future,” Lyonchhen added.

For the 13th FYP, he said that given various reforms taking place, they feel that there has been delay comparing to other times. However, he said that they still have 7 to 8 months and in another 3 to 4 months the 13th FYP will be ready.

“I personally told them that it is of huge help with the current way of planning FYP but with changing times and needs, the relevancy is becoming less. When having has to work under the interim government for three months in every five years, everything then gets slow,” he added.

They do not want to see this gap and told GoI about undoing this.

“The rest of the donor partners and countries, go by the plan period but with the trusted partner like GoI, we do not really have to restrict to the five-year planning mode. Therefore, we told GoI that if they provide the support evenly, we will use it more during this gap to fill it up so that there is no down turn,” Lyonchhen said.

Now with time, he said that they must change the way to support each other and to include the priorities in the 13th FYP. He said the FS assured that GoI is open to everything.               

Meanwhile, Lyonchhen said that 13th FYP should be able to carry on the vision of the transformation that is on-going at the moment. When the transformation activities get implemented, the 13th FYP being the first plan, will be very crucial as it must be able to carry the vision of the transformation.

“Our focus is on economy because the state of the country is the state of the country’s economy. Return on the investments have to be clear,” he added.

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