NEW DELHI: Asserting that it attaches no “conditionalities” to assistance to countries including Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Maldives and Bangladesh, India today said it also does not “challenge national sovereignty” of these nations and noted such aids were demand driven and mutually beneficial.
It also cautioned against developed countries stopping ODA (Official Development Assistance) to their developing counterparts as suggested by the recent communiqué of the UN Secretary General on the post-2015 development agenda. “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 here. He was addressing a conference here on ‘South-South Cooperation: Issues and emerging challenges’. The Foreign Secretary said, “we should reinforce the argument that while South-South cooperation and the voluntary efforts of developing countries such as India will continue to play an important role, it would be a travesty to project them as the principle new component of a redefined global partnership of the new agenda.”He cautioned against replacing North-South cooperation with South-South cooperation.
Observing that North-South engagement leads the aid process and should continue to do so, Mathai said it is self- evident that while South-South cooperation supplements North- South cooperation, the former bloc is not yet in a position to replace the latter in any significant measure. The fact that the traditional donor community often underplays the distinctions between our forms of assistance does not diminish its validity, he said. “It is surprising that even as crucial importance of the ODA for many developing countries have been reiterated at many high-level fora, this document (communique of the UN Secretary General’s high level panel on the post 2015 development agenda) does not contain single mention of ODA,” he said.