US aid to India registers slight decline in 2009

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Washington, May 15: The US assistance to India has decreased slightly in 2009 Fiscal in recognition of the continuing growth of the Indian economy and the ability of the government to fund more of the important programmes.

Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Richard Boucher gave this information in his testimony before the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Sub-committee on South Asia yesterday. ''In India, we continue to strengthen our partnership by helping the Indians address the health needs of their most vulnerable people, including 21 million dollars for HIV/AIDS projects in 2009,'' he said.

Mr Boucher said the President's Fiscal Year 2009 base budget request for South Asian states Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Maldives is just over 2 billion dollar.

Much of our request remains concentrated in Afghanistan and Pakistan, which are key to regional stability.

He said, for Pakistan, the Department was requesting 117 million dollar for basic education and 47 million dollar for higher education in the 2009 base budget.

Some 300 million dollar and an additional 100 million dollar requested in the 2009 bridge supplemental would continue to support Pakistan's security force modernisation, enhance the country's counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism capabilities, and provide equipment and training in support of the Security Development Plan for the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and surrounding agencies.

''Specifically, we aim to address the health, education and economic programmes in the Tribal Areas through the continuation of our five-year, 750 million dollar funding commitment that began in Fiscal Year 2007. We've requested 60 million dollar in the Fiscal Year 2008 supplemental and 150 million dollar in the Fiscal Year 2009 base to fulfill this commitment,'' he said.


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