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High On Intent, Low On Funds

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We’ve been cataloguing how India’s spend on Myanmar (formerly Burma) has been steadily rising, although less compared to Afghanistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka. This could change dramatically in coming  years as the China factor gets stronger. On the other hand, India’s investment in the region is too little and too scattered as a Right To Information (RTI) petition filed by SPR Foundation’s Sourjya Bhowmick shows.
Nevertheless, our findings and continued coverage should serve as a precursor to future economic and political developments. In a similar report on Myanmar dated October 24, we highlighted some of the expenditure heads incurred by India. This time, we sought specific information on allocations to Myanmar.  This financial year it is Rs 190 crore, as mentioned in the Annual Budget. The table below gives you an idea about the details.

Key Expenditure Heads

A Ministry of External Affairs report says India is actively involved in over a dozen projects, infrastructural as well as non-infrastructural, led by organisations like Rites, Essar, ONGC Videsh and Gail. More details on these projects can be accessed in the same report. However, there is criticism saying that India has not moved quickly and China has used this opportunity to step up its involvement. Earlier, in 2008, India embarked on a $110 m project to develop Myanmar’s Sittwe port, but failed to deliver whereas reports suggest China has been swift in delivering Shwe Gas Project. Currently, China is also building a deep water port in Kyauk Phyu, not far from Sittwe and a pipeline from Rakhine coast to South China to transport Oil and Gas. By way of background, two-thirds of foreign investment in Myanmar comes from China.

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