India's development cooperation with partner countries is based on equality, mutual respect for sovereignty as well as freedom of choice, and not on competition, conditionalities or prescriptions, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Monday.
Addressing a gathering marking 55 years of India's development partnership programme, Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC), he said the countries of global south are important partners for India.
"Together, we represent the aspirations of 6.3 billion people of the world. Many of us have historical ties dating back to centuries, be it through mercantile trade or culture. Our forefathers have struggled together against colonial bondages. Today, our collective bilateral trade stands around $220 billion," he said.
India's development cooperation and support to the cause of multilateralism flow from the philosophy of inter-connectedness and interdependence which reflects commitment to 'Vasudeva Kutumbakam' (world is one family), Mr Jaishankar said.
At the event, Mr Jaishankar launched the e-Vidya Bharti and e-Arogya Bharti -- teleeducation and telemedicine project for Africa, which is one of the largest projects being executed by the MEA.
This project will enable African students to access premier Indian education through the comforts of their homes and offer Indian medical expertise to African doctors and patients alike, Mr Jaishankar said.
Development cooperation has always played a central role in India''s foreign policy and the country has been committed to remain a steadfast and reliable developmental partner by sharing its own vast development experience of over seven decades, he said.
"India seeks to be leader in Climate Change Action. India's initiative of the International Solar Alliance led by the vision of our Hon''ble PM is testimony to the fact that we are committed to a clean and sustainable future for the children of tomorrow," he said.
Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan, Minister of State for Defence Shripad Yesso Naik, Secretary Economic Relations in the MEA, T S Tirumurti, diplomats from various missions of countries, senior officials from the Indian government and ITEC institution, were among those present on the occasion.