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Projects executed in many countries including Syria under scheme: officials

Kochi, Jan 21 (PTI) India has successfully executed key infrastructure projects like power and steel plants in many countries including African nations and strife-torn Syria under a scheme meant to promote the country's trade and economic ties with such countries, top officials said on Tuesday.

According to them, the government has launched the Indian Development and Economic Assistance Scheme (IDEAS) which governs the Lines of Credit (LOCs) facility extended by Exim Bank to overseas government at the behest and with Indian government's support, according to them.

This was done with a view to promoting India's trade and economic relations with developing countries in particular.

A Ajay Kumar, Joint Secretary (DPA-1), Ministry of External Affairs and Sudatta Mandal, Chief General Manager, Export-Import Bank of India (Exim Bank) were talking to reporters on the sidelines of an outreach programme here.

The programme was organised to attract Indian firms to participate in the Line of Credit programme extended by the Exim bank to execute projects in foreign countries.

Kumar said a steel plant could be successfully set up in Syria during the peak of the crisis in that country.

'We have the unique record of completing projects in some of the most difficult countries like Syria during the peak of the crisis (there),' Kumar said.

The execution of the project had started in 2012.

Kumar said only Indian companies can participate in tenders floated by the overseas government to execute the projects of their choice under the LOC facility and this would give them an opportunity to enter into foreign nations.

Reaching out to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to participate in tender floated by the foreign governments for their various schemes, Mandal said 'in Mauritius we are in the process of funding a project for import of incinerators from India in crematoriums there.' Noting that there is a large Hindu population in Mauritius, he said they have requirement of more incinerators in their crematoriums because it is environment friendly.

'Unfortunately, they have only two incinerators in the two crematoriums, which are overloaded..,' he said.

According to them, the Indian companies benefit from the programme as a minimum 75 per cent of the value of goods and services covered under the LOC programme are typically sourced from India, and Exim Bank assumes the credit and political risks of the overseas buyers.

As of December 31, 2019, Exim Bank has signed 257 LOCs covering 61 countries in 5 continents with credit commitments aggregating USD 25.15 billion.

'Beside these, 41 LOCs amounting to USD 5.50 billion are in the pipeline. The total commitment will then rise to 298 LOCs of USD 30.62 billion to 64 countries over the world,' they said.

They said over the last ten years, the LOC Portfolio has grown exponentially.

Currently, around 52 per cent and 41 per cent of the total LOC commitments are to Asia and Africa Regions, respectively.

In terms of total number of LOCs extended, Africa is the largest recipient region.

'Value-wise it is the Asia Region that is leading because of a few high-value LOCs to our neighbouring countries,' they added.PTI TGB BN BN