As developed western countries struggle to lift their economies, India has called for a stronger South-South Cooperation in order to create a new global market force. “There is a need to proactively own and contribute on South-South Cooperation. It is a partnership beyond strategic cooperation and is built on solidarity, shared past and ancient relations,” India’s Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar said in his valedictory address at the conference organised by Delhi based think tank RIS on South-South Cooperation.
The importance and relevance of this global platform can be imagined with the fact that in 1990, the total South-South trade accounted less for than 5% of total global trade, which shot up to 20% in 2013.
India is playing a key role in reshaping the global agenda on South-South Cooperation and has increased its budget for this global platform. Mr Jaishankar said that India is always willing to share its limited resources with other developing countries.
In the Union Budget, presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on February 29, India has increased its development assistance fund allocation in capacity building, lines of credit, and grants. India has also taken responsibility to assist developing countries in capacity building. Speaking about India’s contribution to South-South Cooperation, Mr Jaishankar said that India has been a proponent of cooperation among the global south since ancient times which is reflected in its neighbourhood policies.
“India has been the largest provider of development assistance to its neighbours,” Mr Jaishankar said. Elaborating on the difference in cooperation between the north and the south, he said North-South Cooperation is about giving, whereas South- South Cooperation is about sharing.
Insisting that the SSC must be a parallel process to the North-South Cooperation and can be achieved by joint efforts of both, Mr Jaishankar said that this conference provided the much needed platform to discuss how southern countries could adopt SDGs within their plans and work collectively to achieve them.
With India increasing its budget for SSC, it is expected to play a bigger role in providing development assistance to other developing countries. Recently, India donated $2 billion line of credit to Bangladesh, which is the highest by India to any country.