Ek Aur Ekh Gyaraah: As Development Partners, India and the United States Can Together Help Move the World Toward a Better Place

USAID/India Mission Director Jonathan Addleton | Published in Urdu in Roznama Rashtriya Sahara, April 2, 2016

The development partnership between India and the United States goes back several decades, contributing to a legacy that lives on in areas ranging from the network of Indian Institutes of Technology to India’s capital markets. Prior partnerships also supported programs that helped eradicate polio and made the Green Revolution possible.

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is proud to be part of that history. At the same time, we recognize that much has changed during the intervening years — in India, in the United States, and in USAID. India today is recognized as a place where the public and private sectors are generating innovative and effective solutions to a wide range of development challenges.

Against this backdrop, USAID in India is increasing its emphasis on innovation and partnership. In addition, a number of our programs are about more than simply the United States and India working together in isolation. Rather, they are about India and the United States working together to pursue broader global development objectives. Already, we have partnered to develop a wide range of promising initiatives that can usefully be shared with other countries.

Reflecting on my initial months in India, it is the variety of these interactions with the wider world that especially stand out:

Last fall we helped facilitate a visit to India involving traders, farmers, and government officials from Uzbekistan focused on expanding the production and marketing of various fruit products. Not long afterwards, we helped arrange a similar program involving dairy farmers from Kenya.

Such activities are already achieving results. For example, innovations in Kenya’s dairy sector, based on the Indian experience, have increased milk production by more than 50 percent in pilot areas. This year, we are working to reach more than 90,000 farmers outside India — including in Nepal, Kenya, and Malawi — with proven Indian innovations aimed at improving agricultural productivity.

On multiple occasions, I have met with visiting delegations from Afghanistan, all interested in learning from India. One group toured health facilities in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. A second group focused on food safety concerns. Very recently, yet another group of senior Afghan officials visited India, this time to learn from the Indian experience in expanding financial inclusion. We have also welcomed and deeply appreciate our partnership with India’s Gujarat-based Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) that is training hundreds of Afghan women in both India and Afghanistan to become economically self-sufficient. Similarly, the National Power Training Center in Delhi is another USAID partner, developing programs involving power engineers from Afghanistan, Nepal, Bhutan, and Bangladesh.

In cooperation with the Government of India, USAID is training people from several African countries at the National Institute of Agricultural Extension Management in Hyderabad and the National Institute of Agricultural Management in Jaipur. While students from Malawi, Liberia, and Kenya participated in the initial phase of this program, it is now expanding to involve students from both Asia and Africa. Already, more than 200 participants have been trained in India as a result of this initiative.

Such programs reflect USAID’s strong interest in working with India to share the Indian development experience globally. In fact, we have launched two projects designed specifically to advance this goal, one focused entirely on health and the other on agriculture. Our Millennium Alliance with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) offers yet another useful mechanism, directed as it is toward identifying and funding innovative projects in India and beyond. These initiatives support a variety of innovations, ranging from solar-power water pumps to mobile applications that provide critical, timely health information to rural women and health care workers.

Shortly after arriving in India, while browsing through an antique shop in Delhi, I came across an old poster advertising Anoop Sharma’s 2003 Hindi film, Ek aur Ek Gyaraah, in turn borrowed from a familiar Hindi proverb: Ek aur Ek Gyarah — one plus one does not equal two, rather it equals eleven!

Over the past several months, I have often evoked that proverb to capture in only a few words what the partnership between USAID and India on global development issues can accomplish. Working together, we truly can be more than the sum of our individual parts. And, when India and the United States are in a good place with each other, we together can also help move the world toward a better place.

Jonathan Addleton is the USAID Mission Director in India. He has also served as US Ambassador to Mongolia; USAID representative to the European Union in Brussels; USAID Mission Director in Cambodia, Pakistan and Central Asia; and Senior Civilian Representative to Southern Afghanistan based in Kandahar.