ASTANA – The Embassy of India in Kazakhstan celebrated ITEC Day 2014 (Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation) on March 18. More than 120 people attended the event, including ITEC Alumni, senior officers from the Kazakhstan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, representatives from the Ministry of Finance, Kaztromprom and Kazakh defence organisations and members of the media, cultural organisations, universities and the Indian community. Indian Ambassador Ashok Kumar Sharma gave the opening remarks and talked about the ITEC Programme.
Raghu Gururaj, first secretary of the Embassy of India welcomed the participants of the event and spoke about ITEC.
According to Gururaj, the ITEC programme was launched in 1964 as a bilateral assistance programme of the Indian government. It is an earnest attempt by India to share the fruits of its socio-economic and technological achievements with other developing countries. The ITEC programme helps partner countries in creating skilled manpower, capacity building and technology transfer.
“Kazakhstan has been a valued and active ITEC Partner since 1992. Since then, the Embassy of India has provided over 800 ITEC scholarships to Kazakhstan citizens who have successfully received various types of training in India. The number of ITEC scholarship slots open to Kazakhstan citizens has increased over the years; we are currently offering 55 ITEC scholarships, most of which are being utilised,” he said.
Graduates of ITEC also took the floor and shared their experiences in India and told about the programme’s advantages.
At the event, it was also noted that India is offering several scholarships for defence personnel. The most popular courses have been in information technology, English proficiency, financial management, agricultural practices, parliamentary studies, defence, environmental technology and biotechnology.
In total, 156 countries in Asia, Eastern Europe, Central Asia, Africa and Latin America are ITEC partners. India spends about $12 million annually on ITEC activities and, since 1964, has provided over $2 billion worth of technical assistance through the programme.
The ITEC programme includes five components: training in India, projects and project related activities, such as feasibility studies and consulting services, deputation of Indian experts abroad and study tours and aid for disaster relief (ADR).
Across India, 45 institutions have been conducting 206 training courses. The training courses cover a wide variety of subjects, including information technology (IT), parliamentary studies, accounting & finance, mass communication, English language, rural development, teacher training and bank management.
India also offers defence training services in some of its prestigious institutions, such as the National Defence College in New Delhi, the National Defence Services Staff College, in Wellington in Tamil Nadu, the National Defence Academy and the Indian Military Academy. The training covers a number of fields such as security and strategic studies, defence management, artillery, electronics, mechanical engineering, marine and aeronautical engineering, anti-marine warfare, hydrography, logistics and management, as well as qualitative assurance services. More than 150 defence personnel from Kazakhstan have taken advantage of these scholarships.
Under this scheme, the Indian government provides return airfare, accommodation, and tuition fees along with a daily living allowance.
“This programme has contributed in its own way to the strengthening of our overall bilateral relations with Kazakhstan and we look forward to utilising the full potential of the programme, and to its further strengthening, in the years ahead,” Gururaj said.