The Trump administration has proposed to reduce its developmental assistance to India from USD 85 million in 2016 to a mere USD 33.3 million in 2018. A major portion of the proposed developmental assistance to India is the US Agency for International Development-led global health programme, which again has dropped from USD 35.5 million in 2016 to USD 19.6 million for the next fiscal beginning October 1, 2017. In the budget proposal, the US’ financial assistance to India for international military education and training has been slightly increased from USD 1.2 million to USD 1.3 million, whereas the financial assistance towards counter- terrorism cooperation has been retained at USD 2 million.
Overall, US President Donald Trump proposed a massive reduction in American aid to South Asian countries.
In his maiden annual budget, he has chopped off foreign military financing to all countries in South Asia except for Pakistan.
Afghanistan, where US has stationed more than 8,000 troops and where the Trump Administration is considering sending more soldiers on the ground, has managed to retain largest level of American funding for the fiscal year 2018.
According to the annual budget proposals sent by the State Department to the Congress, the entire foreign assistance to South and Central Asian countries have been reduced from about USD 2 billion in 2016 to USD 1.4 billion in 2018.
Of this, Afghanistan alone accounts for more than half USD 782 million for the fiscal year 2018.
For Bangladesh, the State Department has reduced the financial assistance from USD 210 million in 2016 to USD 138 million in 2018.
A major chunk (USD95 million) of assistance to Bangladesh is towards strengthening of democracy and economic development of this South Asian country.
Maldives, which is facing extinction from the dangers of climate change, has received a massive cut in developmental assistance from USD 3.3 million in 2016 to a mere 440,000 in 2018, as per budgetary State Department proposals.
Nepal too is off the Trump’s list of Foreign Military Financing as the budgetary proposal for 2018 indicates the figure to zero as against USD 18 million in 2016.
But it has maintained the same level of assistance towards military training and education: USD 0.8 million in 2016 to USD 0.9 million in 2018.
Sri Lanka is another country where Trump has proposed a massive budgetary cut in its financial assistance which has come down from USD 42.5 million in 2016 to a mere USD 3.3 million in 2018.
Most of the funding (USD 2.8 million) would towards peace and security including combating weapons of mass destruction, and stabilisation operations and security sector reform.
Military training and education accounts for another half a million USD, according to US budgetary papers.