The budget of the Indian union territory of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), announced last month, is twice the size of Pakistan’s bailout request to the International Monetary Fund, according to documents.
The budget of J&K stood at Rs 1,18,500 crore ($14.5 billion), while Pakistan sought $7 billion from the IMF.
The irony is not lost on many, given Pakistan’s long-standing desire to claim the region since the partition of India in 1947.
On March 13, while making the budget announcement, Indian finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman highlighted several key infrastructure projects, including the 8.45 km Qazigund-Banihal tunnel at a cost of Rs 31.17 billion ($38 million), which will reduce the travel time between Srinagar and Jammu from 10 hours to five.
“Kashmir is likely to be connected to the rest of the country through the rail network by the end of the year 2023,” Sitharaman said.
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Pakistan stands on the brink of default even as it remains engaged with the International Monetary Fund at the tail end of a three-year programme.
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