US working with India in developing nations on social progs

US working with India in developing nations on social progs

The United States is increasingly working with India to jointly work towards development of social welfare programs in developing and third-world countries, a top Obama Administration official has said.

This is a work in progress as the United States moves from a donor-recipient relationship to that of partnership, the official said.

"We are increasingly working with and talking to India about the development programs that it supports within the Asia region, and we have a trilateral dialogue US-India-Japan that focuses on the East Asia theater," Nisha Biswal, Assistant Administrator USAID told members of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific during a Congressional hearing on Thursday.

"India is investing very heavily in Burma in many of the same areas that were, you know, providing support in. So there's an opportunity for us to work together to maximize the impact of the resources that we bring to them," she said.

When US President Barack Obama went to India in 2010, he talked about the local-global cooperation. Along with the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Obama launched the partnership for an Evergreen Revolution which talks about the partnership between the United States and India in the African context, she said.

"But, increasingly, we're looking, not only how to partner in Sub-Saharan Africa, but in Afghanistan, in South Asia and in East Asia," the USAID official said.

Responding to a question, Biswal said India has long been a donor country, as she referred to the USD 2 billion aid to Afghanistan.

"What we talked about when we say transforming the partnership, the relationship from donors, recipient to one of two partnerships is we recognize that India is a country that has represented both tremendous progress and faces continuing challenges," she said.
These challenges are going to be met, by and large, through the resources from within India, she said.

"Yet the technical collaboration between American institutions, American private sector, American academic and research institutions and Indian institutions to co-create solutions, innovations, frugal innovation that are emerging in the India, has tremendous promise to bring more cost effective and relevant and impactful solutions that can be scale with Indian resources within India, but also can inform and transform the way that we're addressing development challenges globally," Biswal said.

For example, she said, India has pioneered agricultural extensions for small holder farmers in a way that's unseen in other parts of the world.

"Because it has very small holder and disaggregated farming system, it uses mobile systems, mobile phones to provide extension services to these farmers at very, very low cost.And they're connected to their agricultural institutions such as IIIT in Hyderabad," she said.

"So, farmers are able to take pictures of their crops that have diseases and beam them directly into these research institutions and get real-time data on what could be done to advance or address these challenges," she said.

"Now, we're working with Indian institutions to see how we can apply those kinds of techniques in African system.

So, there's tremendous opportunity for partnership where we're not doing service delivery type interventions in India because that's really not where we bring value, but the kind of partnerships that allow us to take to the next level and have global impact," Biswal added.

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