NEW DELHI: From one of the highest recipient of multi-lateral development aid, India has quietly transitioned into the role of provider as in the last three years it has given more aid to foreign countries than it has received.
This was informed by Minister of State for External Affairs General VK Singh in a written reply to the Parliament. “India is currently a net donor of foreign aid. In the last three years, India has provided more aid to foreign countries, than it has received,” Singh said in response to a question on Wednesday.
Development Aid to foreign countries not only serves economic objectives but also as a strategic tool. The effort to raise the assistance it has been providing to foreign countries is part of a conscious effort on part of India to commensurate its role as an emerging power where it sees itself as one of the permanent members in the UN Security Council. In the financial year 2015-16 India gave Rs. 7719.65 crores as aid whereas it received Rs. 2,144.77 crore in aid from foreign countries and global banks.
The neighbourhood is the biggest recipient of aid from India in sync with New Delhi’s “Neighbourhood first” policy. Bhutan for years have received the biggest chunk of Indian aid with Rs. 5,368.46 crores in 2015-16, primarily aimed at developing hydro-electric power in the Himalayan Kingdom. In the same financial year, the second largest recipient of the assistance was post-conflict Afghanistan where India has been constructing Parliament building, cricket stadium among other things. It is followed by Sri Lanka where India is undertaking the construction of houses for rehabilitation of Tamil population displaced by nearly three decades long war.
The largest provider of aid to India in 2015-16 was the Global Fund, the international financing organisation that gives aid to fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, Malaria and other diseases that provided Rs 1477.72 crore. The second largest donor is the European Union. Interestingly, the United Kingdom, the former colonial rulers of India have the balance sheet in negative for the year 2016-17.