Modi for adhering to deadlines in bilateral pacts

  • Jayanth Jacob, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Nov 21, 2014 01:39 IST

Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants India to strictly adhere to deadlines in honouring pacts and aid commitments made to other countries, with reports suggesting inordinate delay in the execution of bilateral agreements.

The external affairs ministry and Indian missions would keep a close watch on such projects so that deadlines were not missed that often result in the country’s goodwill taking a hit, an official told HT.

The PMO — as reported by HT on August 10 — called for a status check of around 600 bilateral agreements signed during 10 years of the UPA to assess if the commitments had been met or remained on paper.

Since the Modi government’s foreign policy was being driven by economic intent, quick decision-making had become an imperative for India to regain its position as world’s favoured investment destination, sources said.

The UPA signed bilateral agreements in the areas of trade and business, transport, defence, security, education, health and cultural relations. But delays have hit the neighbourhood as and away.

“It had been decided to give 17 fire engines to Nepal in 2012. It was only in September that the new government issued the tender,” a source said.

India’s showpiece joint venture with Myanmar — the Kaladan multi-modal transport project that would provide an alternative route to the Northeast — was launched in 2008 but has been missing deadlines. Officials, however, contended that remote location, political and social instability were holding back the project.

India announced $9 million to Palestine as budgetary support in 2012, of which it could disburse only $1 million.

Nearly 64.5% of the external affairs ministry’s budget is devoted to technical and commercial cooperation with other countries. A sum of Rs 6,268.81 crore has been set aside for the same in the 2014-15 budget.

“A strict follow-up of all the bilateral announcements made after the NDA government came to power is being done,” the official said.

The government has also been quick to clear strategically important projects such as the Chabahar port in Iran which the UPA had been wavering about.

“Most of these projects bring goodwill and are a test of how effectively and efficiently Indians can work and meet deadlines,” the official said.

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