Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) Programme
The Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) Programme was instituted by a decision of the Indian Cabinet on 15 September 1964 as a bilateral programme of assistance of the Government of India. The ITEC Programme, born out of the vision of our first Prime Minister JawaharLal Nehru, was formally launched under the premiership of LalBahadurShastri. The decision regarding setting up the ITEC programme was predicated on the underlying belief that "it was necessary to establish relations of mutual concern and inter-dependence based not only on commonly held ideals and aspirations, but also on solid economic foundations. Technical and economic cooperation was considered to be one of the essential functions of an integrated and imaginative foreign policy."
The ITEC Programme is essentially bilateral in nature. However, in recent years, ITEC resources have also been used for cooperation programmes conceived in regional and inter-regional context such as Economic Commission for Africa, Industrial Development Unit of Commonwealth Secretariat, UNIDO, Group of 77 and G-15. In more recent years, its activities have also been associated with regional and multilateral organizations and cooperation groupings like Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), Mekong-Ganga Cooperation (MGC), African Union (AU), Afro-Asian Rural Development Organization (AARDO), Pan African Parliament, Caribbean Community (CARICOM), World Trade Organization (WTO) and Indian Ocean Rim - Association for Regional Cooperation (IOR-ARC) and India-Africa Forum Summit.
The ITEC Programme, fully funded by the Government of India, has evolved and grown over the years. Under ITEC and its sister programme SCAAP (Special Commonwealth African Assistance Programme), 161 countries in Asia, Africa, East Europe, Latin America, the Caribbean as well as Pacific and Small Island countries are invited to share in the Indian developmental experience acquired over six decades of India's existence as a free nation. As a result of different activities under this programme, there is now a visible and growing awareness among other countries about the competence of India as a provider of technical know-how and expertise as well as training opportunities, consultancy services and feasibility studies. These programmes have generated immense goodwill and substantive cooperation among the developing countries.
ITEC is the flagship programme of the Indian Government's capacity building effort, not only because of its magnitude and wide geographical coverage but also for innovative forms of technical cooperation. DPA-II Division of Development Partnership Administration (DPA) in the Ministry of External Affairs is the nodal division for handling all capacity building programmes. The ITEC programme, along with SCAAP and TCS of Colombo Plan, is a visible symbol of India's role and contribution to South-South cooperation. South-South Cooperation is a partnership born out of a shared sense of solidarity and is entirely voluntary and free of conditionalities. It furthers national development priorities of our partners and has national ownership at its centre. India remains a staunch proponent and practitioner of South-South Cooperation which constitutes a fundamental pillar of India's foreign policy and diplomacy.