Remarks by Minister of State for External Affairs at Development Cooperation Dialogue, Forum for Indian Development Cooperation organized by RISPosted on: March 22, 2021 | Back | Print
Ambassador Dr. Mohan Kumar, Chairman, RIS
Dr. Rajesh Tandon, Chairman, FIDC
Prof. Sachin Chaturvedi, D.G., RIS
Ladies and Gentlemen,
A very Good Morning to you all!
I’m extremely glad to join you all at the Development Cooperation Dialogue, the Forum for Indian Development Cooperation Annual Symposium 2021. It is happening at the most opportune time when we are sharing our development gains and our experiences with several new ideas.
2. India’s development partnership initiatives form a core element of India’s foreign policy.
3. The Government’s approach in this regard has been shaped by India’s struggle for independence, and solidarity with other colonised and developing countries. In many ways our developmental outreach stems from Gandhian leadership. Mahatma Gandhiji’s thinking was in terms of the whole world. His patriotism included the service to humanity. India has been sharing its developmental experiences and technical expertise with other countries in the spirit of "Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” – the whole world is one family.
4. The distinctive feature of our development cooperation is that it is primarily human-centric. It is marked by Respect, Diversity, Care for the future, and Sustainable development.
5. India’s development cooperation does not come with any prescriptive or extractive conditions. It is guided by the priorities of our partners. It is on terms that are comfortable for our partners that liberates their potential and does not constrain their future. India’s focus is to build as much local capacity and create as many local opportunities as possible.
6. Our economic cooperation is comprehensive and involves multiple instruments including grant-in-aid, line of credit and capacity building and technical assistance.
7. The sectors range from commerce to culture, energy to engineering, health to housing, IT to infrastructure, sports to science, disaster relief and humanitarian assistance to restoration and preservation of cultural and heritage assets.
8. I want to take this opportunity to highlight some examples of India’s unique way of fostering Development Cooperation with our partner countries.
9. One of the key elements of India’s development cooperation includes grant-in-aid projects. These projects, totalling over USD 4 billion, covering various sectors such as infrastructure, hydroelectricity, power transmission, agriculture, education, health, Industry etc. are under implementation.
10. Iconic projects completed with Indian grant assistance include construction of Afghan-India Friendship Dam in the Herat province of Afghanistan, Construction of the Afghan Parliament Building in Kabul, construction of a new ENT hospital project in Mauritius, Metro Express Project in Mauritius, the Jaffna Cultural Centre in Sri Lanka, the Supreme Court building in Mauritius and so on.
11. Extension of Indian Lines of Credit on concessional terms is an important component of India’s diplomatic strategy and has been very useful in generating goodwill and building long term partnerships.
12. The Lines of Credit program is growing steadily. Currently, there are 311 LoCs extended by India to 64 countries around the world. India has extended over 31.6 billion dollars worth of LoCs. As of February 2021, a total of 657 projects are covered under the LoC process.
13. These projects are aimed at socio-economic development and capacity building in the partner countries. They promote local opportunities and interests to foster deep and sustainable long term partnerships with other developing countries. The scheme also attempts to promote India’s strategic and economic interests abroad by positioning it as an emerging economic power, investor country and the partner of choice for developing countries.
14. The LoC scheme is also expected to boost Indian export of goods and services to untapped markets, and successfully showcase India’s expertise in project planning, design and implementation in diverse areas of socio-economic development such as power, transport connectivity, agriculture and irrigation, manufacturing industries etc.
15. There is a special focus on regional connectivity initiatives in the immediate neighbourhood, and emphasises our commitment to the Neighbourhood First and Act East policies. A total of 104 connectivity projects worth around 7.69 billion dollars have been taken up in 5 countries in our neighbourhood, out of which 47 projects have already been completed.
16. These projects can act as force multipliers to accelerate regional growth & development, promote people-to-people contact, and encourage trade and commerce.
17. India has also completed numerous infrastructure projects in other partner countries. Some of the iconic projects include the Parliament Building of Gambia, the Presidential Palace in Ghana, the Kosti Power project in Sudan which provides one-third of the country’s power, the Nyaborongo Power Project in Rwanda which provides one-fourth of the country’s power, Railway Bridges and Signalling Systems in Bangladesh, the post-war rebuilding of the Sri Lankan Railways and so on.
18. We have set up the first ever industrial units in many countries – like the first Cement Plant of Djibouti, the first Milk Processing Plant of Mauritania, the first Sugar Factory of Ghana etc. India is currently building the first oil refinery of Mongolia through concessional loans worth 1.236 billion dollars. It will provide critical energy security to Mongolia.
19. Capacity building assistance is an important strand of India's development partnerships. It is delivered under the flagship Indian Technical & Economic Cooperation (ITEC) Programme instituted in 1964. ITEC is considered to be one of the essential functions of an integrated and imaginative foreign policy.
20. Under these programmes, participants, mainly civil servants, from 161 partner countries in Asia, Africa, East Europe, Latin America, the Caribbean as well as Pacific and Small Island countries are invited to participate in more than 350 short and mid-term training programmes at 100 odd premium Indian institutions every year.
21. The ITEC Programme, fully funded by the Government, has evolved and grown organically from about 4000 training slots in 2006-07 to 11645 civilian slots in 2019-20. The budget allocated for the scheme has increased from Rs 60 Cr. in 2006-07 to Rs 220 Cr. in 2019-20. Additionally, about 2000 foreign defence personnel attend training with their Indian counterparts in various Indian defence institutions annually.
22. The ITEC Programme is essentially bilateral in nature. However, in recent years, ITEC resources have also been used for cooperation programmes conceived in regional and inter-regional context. These programmes have generated immense goodwill and substantially boosted cooperation among the developing countries. These programmes provide an unmatched and wholesome "India Experience” to the participants.
23. Following a comprehensive review in 2019-20 for conducting ITEC training, some new modalities like e-ITEC, ITEC-Onsite and ITEC executive have been included in the bouquet of ITEC.
24. In addition to these, Indian development assistance has also been used to create capacity building infrastructure in partner countries. These include Centres of Excellence in IT, Vocational Training Centres, Business Incubation Centres.
25. Coming to Humanitarian Assistance provided by India. Even during the time of global crisis where international logistics were disrupted, India has succeeded in fulfilling its commitment by sending medical aid to Friendly Foreign Countries in the form of essential medicines, Hydroxychloroquine, Paracetamol, testing kits, Covid- related protection gear, etc. We also shared our expertise by revamping our flagship ITEC programme to webinar-based e-ITEC modules focussing on Covid responses. Within a short span of time a total of 14 such courses were used to provide training to nearly 1200 professionals across 47 countries.
26. Leveraging on our domestic capacities for pharmaceutical productions, India was able to fulfil its commitment to provide Covid related medical aid to our partner countries. Medical supplies worth approx. Rs. 100 crore to a total of 82 countries on grant basis have been provided in just 2020 alone, including 25 countries in Africa and 27 countries in Latin America.
27. Apart from medical aid, India has also delivered technical assistance by despatching Rapid Response Teams to Comoros, Mauritius, Kuwait and the Maldives. India also set up a SAARC information exchange platform which has enabled us to achieve substantive regional cooperation benefits like special visa scheme for medical professionals, regional air ambulance agreements and academic platforms to study vaccine efficacy and epidemiology.
28. I feel proud to say that in 2021, India has provided countries with access to Made in India vaccines. As of date, India has provided 10.5 million doses of vaccine as grant-in-aid to 52 countries across the world. This includes 22 countries in Africa, 02 Pacific Island countries and 14 countries in the Latin America region.
29. Apart from providing vaccines as grants, India is also providing global vaccine access through the COVAX facility; till date nearly 18 million doses have reached 37 countries.
30. India has also facilitated global-scale vaccine supplies through commercially-contracted agreements; 24 countries have received nearly 34 million doses manufactured in India.
31. In all, the Vaccine Maitri operation has provided till date 60 million doses of vaccines to 76 countries; this has raised India’s standing and generated great international goodwill.
32. India has a rich civilisational and cultural ethos. Our development cooperation therefore, also takes into account the promotion of Indian Cultural Heritage projects abroad. The Ministry of External Affairs has been executing several of these projects, especially with regards to conservation and heritage site restoration.
33. The Ministry has created the new Development Partnership Division (DPA-IV) specifically to oversee this strand of our international development cooperation.
34. Our restoration footprint spans over two dozen countries, with approximately 60 completed projects in 21 countries and 52 on-going projects in 12 countries. These projects are valued at over Rs 1200 crore.
35. Our current Cultural and Heritage Conservation activities range from excavations, restoration of temples and other religious sites such as mosques and dzongs to mural preservations, museology related works, icono-graphic survey etc.
36. Some of the key on-going projects include – My Son group of Temples in Vietnam, the Vat Phou Temple in Lao PDR, Ta Prohm Temple in Cambodia, and the Preah Vihear Temple in Cambodia, in consultation with UNESCO.
37. Before I conclude, let me congratulate the FIDC at RIS, for organising this very important dialogue.
38. It would be pertinent to bring diverse perspectives and pool diverse development experiences, innovations, and ideas. The FIDC provides an appropriate institutional set up for the same. I believe that this symposium will encourage further detailed analysis and introspection of India’s global developmental partnerships, and help us explore ways to deliver better – in the spirit of Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikaas, Sabka Vishwas – to make the world a better place.
39. With these words I once again thank the RIS and FIDC for this opportunity and declare the symposium open.