Besides this, there was an allocation of Rs447 crore for international training programmes.

India’s budget aid to counter China’s growing influence

India provides development aid to friendly nations under its key Neighbourhood First policy.

However, especially amid recent border tensions with China, such aid is also viewed as part of India’s move to counterweigh China’s influence in the region. The aid to Myanmar is a case in point. New Delhi has also increased efforts to engage the junta there, that borders India’s northeastern states.

The aid allocated for Mongolia, China’s northern neighbour, has also witnessed a sharp rise from Rs2 crore to Rs12 crore now. The two nations are planning to work together on several projects, including the promotion of traditional Indian medicines and clean energy.

Interestingly, the South Asian University, a regional institution supported by members of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), got a hike in the budget, from Rs94 crore to Rs120 crore. Up to Rs3,100 crore has also been allocated under “special diplomatic expenditure,” according to budget estimates.

India’s allocation to the Maldives and African nations has also seen a hike this year.

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