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India and Bhutan today initiated discussions on Indian assistance for the 12th five year plan (2018-2023) for the socio-economic development of the Himalayan nation.
India has already committed assistance of Rs 4,500 crore for implementation of development projects during Bhutan's 11th Five Year Plan (2013-2018).
The discussion took place during the annual India-Bhutan development cooperation talks, which were co-chaired by Vijay Gokhale, Secretary (Economic Relations) in the external affairs ministry and foreign secretary of Bhutan Dasho Sonam Tshong.
Today's meeting came nearly two-and-a-half months after the "disengagement" between Indian and Chinese troops on August 28, ending a tense 73-day-long stand-off near the India-China-Bhutan tri-junction in the Dokalam area.
A statement from the external affairs ministry said the talks were held in a friendly atmosphere in keeping with the close and friendly ties between the two countries.
The two sides also initiated discussions on India's assistance to the 12th Five Year Plan (2018-2023) of Bhutan, the MEA said, adding India has been a "privileged" partner of Bhutan in its socio-economic development.
"India's commitment to continue its support to Bhutan in its development efforts was reiterated by the Indian side... The annual development cooperation talks is an important bilateral mechanism to review the entire gamut of Indias development partnership with Bhutan," it said.
India has committed assistance of Rs 4500 crore for implementation of development projects during Bhutans 11th Five Year Plan (2013-2018), the MEA said.
Over 675 projects, including 595 small development projects, have been under implementation in Bhutan during the 11th plan period within India's committed assistance of Rs 4500 crore, the ministry said.
With Bhutan's 11th plan entering its final phase, the two sides noted with satisfaction the overall progress in the implementation of ongoing bilateral development projects in Bhutan, the statement said.
The Bhutanese side conveyed its appreciation for the invaluable support of India for their socio-economic development priorities, and for timely disbursements of funds for the ongoing projects.
The two sides agreed to hold the next round of talks in 2018 in Thimphu on a mutually agreed date.