India fails to keep bus promise to Cuba

havana-live-india-busesHAVANA, 12 January  India failed to honour its commitment of donating 50 buses to Cuba under the grant-in-aid programme for improving the public Latin American country, with which New Delhi has a long history of ties steeped in nostalgia as well.

The failure is seen as the result of US sanctions on Cuba. The offer for buses was first made by former external affairs minister SM Krishna in Havana in June 2012, which the Cuban authorities accepted under the grant-in-aid programme for Latin America. During the visit of vice-president Hamid Ansari in October 2013, the offer of buses was repeated and it was announced 25 buses would be given initially.

Ansari, accompanied by a minister of state and four members during the visit had a meeting with Cuban leader Fidel Castro. The plan was to give 25 fully built, diesel, city type non-AC buses conforming to Euro-II norms, the process for which was started in December 2013. The other 25 buses were to be given later.

The expense for the same was to be met from budget meant for Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) in 2013-14, sources familiar with the planning. However, the plans got stuck due to the difficulty arising out of US sanctions on Cuba, which affects shipments of goods to Cuba. Sources said though the sanction was factored in, there was extra time taken in “scope of these sanctions.”