The Jindal School of Government and Public Policy hosted a Dissemination Workshop on “India’s Development Cooperation Policy” on 13 January 2018 at Maple Hall, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi.
The participants included:
- Professor R Sudarshan, Dean, JSGP.
- Mr. Mani Shankar Aiyar, Former Indian diplomat, M.P. and Minister.
- Dr. Mohan Kumar, Vice Dean and Professor of Diplomatic Practice, Jindal School of International Affairs; Vice Chairman, Research and Information Systems for Developing Countries, New Delhi.
- Mr. Sandeep Dikshit, former M.P.
- Dr. Clarence J Dias, President, International Center for Law in Development, New York.
- Dr. Milindo Chakrabarti, Visiting Fellow, Research and Information Systems for Developing Countries, New Delhi, Professor, School of Business Studies & School of Law, Sharada University, and Adjunct Professor, Jindal School of Government and Public Policy.
- Dr. Sandeshika Sharma, former Professor, Jindal School of Government and Public Policy and Editor, Jindal Journal of Public Policy.
- Mr. Bharat Bhushan, Independent Journalist, Former Editor, Mail Today.
- Mr. Arvind Kumar, Project Advisor, The Energy & Resources Institute, New Delhi
- Mr. Anup Pujari, Retd. IAS officer, Visiting Professor Harvard Kennedy School.
- Mr. Sanjay K. Rajhans, Deputy Head of Public Policy, Asst. Professor, Faculty of Social Sciences, National Research University, Moscow, Russia
- Mr. Pratik Phadkule, Research Associate JSGP
- Aditya Vasishtha, JSGP, M.A. Public Policy, 2016.
- Kanika Kharbanda, JSGP, M.A. Public Policy, 2016.
- Aparna Raman, JSGP, M.A. Public Policy, 2016.
The workshop was chaired by Professor R. Sudarshan. The participation of invitees to this workshop was beyond expectations. Despite the winter break, three of the ten student authors made presentations. The students presenting the final output of the project were very well-prepared. They held their ground well in the face of some candid and forthright comments. The drafting and writing skills of the students who wrote the paper “India’s Development Cooperation Policy – Towards a White Paper” (published in the current issue of the Jindal Journal of Public Policy) received repeated praise.
Participants pointed out that greater attention needs to be paid to the political economy, border/national security, and foreign relations contexts in which development cooperation takes place. The need for a single development cooperation policy was questioned. Direction and ‘model’ approach (development compact) articulation needs to be balanced against flexibility and room for negotiation and variation.
Absence of a coherent foreign policy will inevitably result in lack of coherence and consistency in development cooperation practice. The call was for tempering naivety with nuance and for greater analysis of past, present and projected development cooperation activity-impacts on neighbourhood and proximate neighbourhood relations. Regarding development financing modalities (grants, loans and letters of credit), participants noted called for a clear recognition that a line of credit is essentially a loan, albeit more concessionary.
Non-conditionality in development cooperation was regarded by many commentators to be a non-starter. They pointed out the nature of conditions which are prescribed should be examined and critiqued. Partnership terminology, to replace donor-recipient relationship, may well be politically correct rhetoric, but the notion of equal partners in development cooperation is far from an existential reality. Similarly, rhetoric of ‘mutual benefit’ should not preclude honest assessment of quid pro quo.
The student authors were also urged not to shy away from raising controversial issues and even taking controversial stances.