The Indian Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai has said that no conditions are attached to aid that India gives to countries including Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.
"Our engagement is demand driven and response to the developmental priorities of our partner countries. We do not attach conditionalities, we do not prescribe policies and we do not challenge national sovereignty. We promote mutually beneficial exchange of development, experiences and resources," Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai said.
"Over the years, we have considerably expanded our development cooperation portfolio through grant assistance in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Myanmar and Sri Lanka for projects in infrastructure, hydroelectricity, power transmission and other sectors identified by the host governments as priority areas for their development," he added.
Mathai was speaking at a conference organised by the Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS) in collaboration with the Indian Ministry of External Affairs and the U.N. Department of Economic and Social Affairs.
The Foreign Secretary criticised planned moves by countries such as the US and the UK to cut aid to India, saying that there should be no moves towards replacing the existing ‘North-South’ relationship with ‘South-South’ cooperation.
Mathai said that North-South cooperation was a historic responsibility, while giving aid to neighbours was a voluntary partnership.
“We should reinforce the argument that while South-South cooperation and the voluntary efforts of developing countries such as India would continue to play an important role, it would be a travesty to project them as the principal new component of a redefined Global Partnership for the new Agenda. South-South Cooperation has to be accompanied by a significant enhancement of North-South aid flows, not their diminution,” he said.
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