Development Cooperation with India

The objectives of Swedish aid are set out in the Aid Policy Framework adopted by Government of Sweden in March 2013. In India, the development cooperation was phased out in 2013 after 60 years of cooperation. Education, energy, environment, water, forestry and health have been part of the cooperation involving a multitude of partners on both sides.

The development cooperation between Sweden and India started in 1953 and was initially mainly in the form of import support. Over the years, the character changed and in the early 1970s the main focus was on family planning, social forestry, vocational training, water and health.  Mixed credits were introduced in the area of energy. In the 1990s India became the largest recipient of Swedish aid and the support included loan-financed projects in the energy sector and grant support in the areas of natural resources, health and education.  Support was also channeled through Indian NGOs.

The agreement on development cooperation was terminated in 1998 but support through multilateral organisations and Indian NGOs continued with an overall objective to support poor and vulnerable groups and with special focus on women and children. From 2005 partner driven cooperation was the main form of support promoting partnerships between actors (municipalities, authorities, universities, business etc) in Sweden and India with the potential to be self-sustaining. Main areas were environment and health and the cooperation also resulted in the signing of Memorandums of Understanding in energy, environment and health. These MoUs will continue to guide cooperation between the two countries on a mutual and cost-sharing basis.

The 60 years of Swedish support has contributed to create conditions that enable poor people to improve their lives and to build relationships between Swedish and Indian actors. Women’s development and empowerment, participation of local communities and transparency have been cornerstones in the development cooperation. In particular, the Swedish support has contributed to:
• Sector reforms and government programs in water and sanitation, forestry, education, health and HIV/AIDS benefitting poor and vulnerable people.
• Strengthen institutions acting as technical experts in different areas and with impact on development of policies and strategies at local, national, regional and global level.
• Increase capacity of government authorities to design and implement programs at different levels benefitting poor and vulnerable people.
• Develop relationships and cooperation of mutual interest between Swedish and Indian municipalities, government agencies, universities, companies and NGOs.

More information on the development cooperation between Sweden and India, including evaluations, results achieved and project examples, is available at Sida’s webpage. Sweden will continue to fund multilaterals active in India as well as global and thematic programmes that may be open for Indian participation.