India is involved in building a parliament in Gambia, constructed a presidential palace in Ghana, and has established power projects in Sudan and Rwanda. India also played a role in the first cement factory in Djibouti, first milk plant in Mauritania, the sugar factory in Ghana and the oil refinery in Mongolia.

“ These are first-time initiatives to promote industry and manufacturing in these countries,” said Rahul Chhabra, Secretary ( ER) , Ministry of External Affairs while speaking on the third day of the fifth edition of Asia Economic Dialogue (AED) 2021. This summit was jointly organised by Pune International Centre (PIC) and the Government of India’ Ministry of External Affairs.

Chhabra said that the size of India’s development package for other countries is about $40 billion . India gives grants of about a $1 billion and has lines of credit of about $4 billion every year.

“ It is 65 countries for lines of credit and the next few months we will be pushing it close to 75 . There will be a large expansion of lines of credit as new countries are coming on as they see benefits of lines of credit which are concessional and are virtually a grant. Repayment terms are affordable and generous. Government of India takes on liability on behalf of its partners” he said. India is executing about 650 projects in 65 countries.

Tandi Dorji and Abdulla Shahid, External Affairs Ministers of Bhutan and Maldives respectively participated in the discussion on ‘ Perspective on India’s International Development Cooperation’. The session was moderated by India’s former Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale.

Chhabra said that there were certain challenges in recent times while executing projects in other countries. “We found that there were certain companies that were really sort of using the process in a way that was really harmful to both the countries’ interest and only seems to benefit those companies. So they were put on the blacklist. The process was completely streamlined and it is now absolutely transparent” he said.

He added that people feel that the entire process of executing projects in partner countries has become lengthier, cumbersome and complicated, but it has actually not. He said that the tendering system has become transparent and the government is ensuring that sustainability while conceiving the projects.