Thursday, October 1, 2009


The greatness in Indianness - India in its own way is latently and calmly playing its role...

Let me start with a cliché this time. India is a unique nation. It is so unique that it can adequately quench the thirst of both skeptics and optimists alike. But then irrespective of perspectives, one thing that no one can rule out is – India’s and Indians contribution to the world. Even today, India in its own way does everything to maintain this contributing legacy. And most importantly, it keeps doing it silently!

Despite of bitter past, India never denied help to its neighbouring countries. The next-door neighbours Nepal and Bhutan have been receiving financial and non-financial assistance from India. The Indian government has helped Nepal and Bhutan to set up numerous medical colleges. The BP Koirala Institute of Health Sciences (a 350-bedded hospital) located in Dharan is ready because of India’s Rs.120 crore financial help. Furthering this momentum, India pledged a $2 million aid for the flood victims in Bhutan and has also laid down provision of an extended assistance worth Rs.10 crore this year. If all these seem less, then the government of Bhutan is all set to receive a total of Rs.5.6 billion as grants in FY 2009-10. This is actually a small part of the Rs.100 billion promise that India committed to Bhutan last year. The country had already received, in 2008-09, Rs.5.54 billion grants and Rs.3 billion loan from India. So much so that this year (in our Union Budget 2008-09) the grants for Bhutan have been increased by Rs.60 million.
Despite of all the recent friction between India and Sri Lanka (on terrorism issue), India has lent a helping hand to Sri Lanka for various development activities ranging from vocational training to mine clearing. Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh had committed Rs. 500 crore for the rehabilitation and resettlement of the Internally displaced persons (IDPs). Not so long before, India has pledged millions of dollars in aid for the cyclone-affected population of Bangladesh. India was even more willingly ready to "adopt" 10 coastal villages for rehabilitation and sale of 500,000 tons of rice to Bangladesh to help the flood victims.

It is not just about neighbours only, but the extent of India’s contribution envelopes a few nations of South Asia as well. This year, Maldives will be receiving a fresh loan of $300 million. India had already dispatched a loan of $100 million. This money will help Maldives escape its on-going financial crisis and fulfill the elections promises. Adding to this is the $100 million credit to strengthen maritime security of the country. Four years back, India had provided a $100 million credit line to Mauritius for the Cyber Tower project and made the project operative in just 18 months! Another Southeast Asian country, Philippines, was able to refurbish its defence, tourism and agriculture, all thanks to former President Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam. Dr. Kalam promised to help the Philippines and signed agreements wherein India will immediately implement "mission mode cooperation" programs with Philippines. India has also been helping in fastening of Singapore's IT belt. India is supporting Singapore on information technology industry. In spite of being in trouble, Air India has expanded its partnership with Singapore Airlines by entering into an Frequent Flying Programme (FFP) beside already existing interline arrangements to benefit customers. India and its North east neighbour Myanmar are considering a pact to develop ports and waterways. India has pledged Rs.535.91 crore ($135 million) for this pact and will build waterway and inter connecting roads in Myanmar, near the Indian border.

When others were busy destroying and devastating Afghanistan, India decided to play a contrarian role. India helped to set up shortwave transmitter in Afghanistan and is upgrading the electronic media there. Technical assistance worth $4.9 million was sanctioned without any glitches. From installing a shortwave transmitter to setting up of a TV studio, every possible help is being extended to this war-torn nation.

Nevertheless, India never confined its helping and development (mutual one as well) initiatives with only developing or the so-called Third World countries. When it came to association, it went overboard and all the way to contribute towards the developed nations as well. Australia and India have signed their first ever long-term LNG contract a month back. This Gorgon LNG project will become the largest single investment ever undertaken in Australia. The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, or CSIR is working with its Australian counterpart on a $2 million (Rs.8.24 crore) project to fully develop the genetically modified seeds. Through its Technology Safeguards Agreement (TSA), the US and India are all set to share their space technology and components. To enable synergy of the IT industries, a project called the "Alllied Team to Manage Euro-Indian Relationships" (ATMAN) was incepted a year ago under the aegis of the EU-India Cross-cultural Economic Programme. The project is being financed by both the European Commission and the Indian government.

What is commendable is the fact that when the whole world is busy with their plans of neo-colonisation, resource exploitation and illegal claims on other’s territories – India in its own way is latently and calmly playing its role in re-establishing humanity and life. And mind you that does not include the contributions made by the Indian workforce across the globe. Though in a small way but the Indian footprints in global development are deeply entrenched and that’s what makes it so silently unique!


No comments:

Post a Comment