The project on Indian Development Cooperation Research (IDCR) is based at the Centre for Policy Research (CPR) a non-partisan, and independent Indian think tank. With funding from the Asia Foundation, IDCR is in the process of developing a comprehensive database of Indian development assistance and publicly disseminating narratives on Indian bilateral development partnerships.
Indian development assistance has changed remarkably since its inception shortly after its independence. The size and diversity of its development partnerships has grown markedly over the past decade, nearly doubling in volume by some estimates. Moreover, Indian development assistance today is comparable to the foreign aid budgets of smaller, high-income European countries with one large difference: the Indian development cooperation budget is growing at a rate which is significantly higher than all but those of other emerging market economies.
Yet despite a large and rapidly growing development assistance there is little public understanding of the different grants and loans of which it is comprised. In trying to better understand Indian development assistance there are two major stumbling blocks: the lack of a comprehensive, consistent, and internationally comparable database on Indian development cooperation, and the absence of a narrative about India’s development partnership. IDCR aims to bridge this gap. This project has been funded by the Asia Foundation. The views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of the Foundation or the Funder.
Indian Development Cooperation
The ethos behind India’s approach to development assistance through building “Development Partnerships” is traceable back to Indian independence in 1947 and the year after when India offered its first development assistance to another country. Indian development cooperation was characterized from its inception by a focus on partnership and solidarity between developing countries, By focusing on the commonality of subjugation under colonial systems and newly-fought independence with other newly independent countries, India forged a sense of shared history, which acted as the main driver of India’s early foreign assistance program.