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How India helps the neighbourhood
Suman Guha Mozumder in New York | September 19, 2006 09:29 IST
Addressing a high-level meeting on the comprehensive global mid-term review of the implementation of the Program of Action for the Least Developed Countries for the Decade 2001-2010, Union Minister of State for External Affairs Anand Sharma said India has always tried to increase mutually beneficial economic cooperation with all LDCs in general, particularly with those in its extended neighborhood.
'India has been a strong votary of South-South cooperation. Indian technical and economic cooperation has, since 1964, provided technical assistance of over $2.5 billion and more than 5,000 representatives of developing countries receive training in over 250 institutions in India every year,' Sharma said.
'We are partnering Afghanistan in a significant manner for infrastructure and capacity building projects and a school children feeding program,' Sharma said, adding that with Myanmar India is cooperating in infrastructure upgrading projects while New Delhi's endeavors with Maldives include speciality healthcare and assistance for rehabilitation projects after the tsunami disaster.
Sharma mentioned India's relationships with Nepal and Bhutan and the country's interest in their development. 'In the context of recent developments in Nepal, we have offered a significant immediate package of assistance. India is the largest development cooperation partner of Bhutan,' he said , adding that over the past decades India has built a 'mutuality of interests' and shared economic prosperity with Bhutan.
To buttress his point that India has stood in good stead for all LDCs, Sharma cited the example of Africa, which he said has always been a high priority for India.
'We are strengthening our cooperation and through other efforts such as TEAM-9 for Western Africa. Our commitment in terms of lines of credit and other concessional financial assistance add up to almost $1 billion,' he said.
The minister mentioned that India is also working on a pan-African network which would be a major satellite and fibre optic connectivity mission that would cover the entire continent of Africa, enabling a network linking learning centres, universities, hospitals all over Africa with counterpart institutions in India.
Sharma said the key, however, to achieving sustained economic growth in LDCs is the developing productive capacities and for this the development partners need to move vigorously in supporting the efforts of LDCs. 'International organizations can also play an important role by providing replicable models and information, which would help LDCs in building national capacity for domestic resource mobilisation.'