India has experienced strong economic growth over the past decade and is itself now a significant aid donor. Australia’s development assistance in India supports technical exchange in areas requested by India and where Australia has expertise. Although bilateral assistance is being phased out, Australia will continue to work in partnership with India on regional issues and provide assistance to poor people in India through multilateral organisations and regional programs.
ACIAR’s current activities are aligned with the Indian Government’s policies, which recognise agricultural R&D as a key mechanism of inclusive growth. The goals of agricultural development in India are to: sustain agricultural growth for food security and poverty reduction; build climate resilience; reinforce the entire agricultural chain to make agriculture profitable for farmers; and promote equitable growth that focuses on small and marginal farmers, women and particular populations in eastern India.
Australia and South Asia share many of the same agricultural and natural resource management problems and research challenges. ACIAR has supported collaborative agricultural research between Australia, India and other South Asian countries since 1983. The large and well-developed national agricultural research system led by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) is a cornerstone of the Indian program and has great potential to underpin cooperative activities in the region, such as through the Rice Wheat Consortium. ACIAR’s research activities have been increasingly linked to the food security problems of other South Asian states and thus have a growing regional character, including the programs delivered in conjunction with CGIAR, state agricultural universities, NGOs, autonomous institutions and the private sector active in the region.