India emerging as global development partner: US

Washington, March 14 (IANS) India is playing a key role as an emerging development partner for neighbours and other countries, particularly Africa, thanks to a US-India partnership, according to the USAID administrator Rajiv Shah.

President Barack Obama made a number of commitments during his 2010 India visit around such cooperation, "and I'm pleased to say there's been real progress," he told foreign media Wednesday in a briefing on his recent visits to India and Burma.

Obama and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh then together launched Partnership for an Evergreen Revolution to bring Indian technology and expertise to other parts of the world, said the highest ranking Indian-American official in Obama administration.

In India, the US was focused on an effort to turn its traditional programme into an innovation laboratory in three priority areas - health, agriculture, and energy -that can help address the effort to end extreme poverty not only in India but also other parts of the world, Shah said.

This would also help "bring Indian resources and talent and entrepreneurship to Africa, Burma, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and a number of other settings as India takes more responsibility on the global stage for ending extreme poverty and its consequences," he said.

"Today there are hundreds of fellows training in Indian research institutions from Africa, and we have joint programmes with India in a range of countries," he said.

Several Indian private sector companies like Jain Irrigation and Bharti Airtel are working with the US actively in many parts of the world, including in India.

"While I was in India, there were more than 200 African agricultural fellows training and learning in Indian universities" as a direct result of the partnership, Shah said.

The US had also made a commitment that it would work with India more actively in Afghanistan and Bangladesh and other settings, "and we've seen very real follow-up and real results come from those efforts," he said.

"Indian-developed agricultural technologies are spreading across the region with our support and in partnership with us in Afghanistan and Bangladesh, and that's helping to move millions of people out of a condition of hunger and extreme poverty," he said.

The US had also partnered with the Self-Employed Women's Association (SEWA), to "work with their Afghan counterparts and ensure that as this important transition happens in Afghanistan women are empowered and active and have a real voice," Shah said.

In India, the US was working with the government and a host of private sector partners to address preventable child death in a holistic manner, he said

The US role in this new mode wasn't necessarily to fully fund these programmes, but "to bring the kinds of public-private partnerships to bear so that India can be successful in its own effort in this regard, Shah said adding, "And we're excited that that appears to be working.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)

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