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India as an emerging donor

Although India has been traditionally perceived, both domestically and globally, as an important aid receiver, it has also had a foreign aid programme of its own, which can be traced to the 1950s and 1960s. India’s aid programme used to be small, focused on building local capacities and it was viewed as benign. In the past few years, however, there have been considerable shifts in the size, focus and strategic thinking behind India’s foreign aid programme. This paper argues that as an emerging donor, India needs to align its aid strategy not with its ambitions, but with a realistic assessment of its strengths and historical roots. Otherwise, it will open itself up to the same criticisms which are often directed at the other major donors.