Our work in India

Updated: 5 September 2014

Sweden's strategy for selective cooperation with India came to an end in December 2013. The main form of cooperation during the last strategy period was Partner Driven Cooperation within the fields of health and environment.

Bilateral cooperation was phased out in 2013

December 2013 was the last month to finance activities and no new country-specific cooperation strategy for India will be developed. From a Swedish point of view, there is a strong desire to continue deepening and broadening the close relations between Sweden and India.

The development cooperation has largely been based upon two bilateral Memorandums of Understanding between Sweden and India. One of these within the field of environment and climate, the other one on health. These agreements have been of major importance as they have provided political support for the activities. There has been a strong interest on both sides to develop cooperation within these areas.

Long history with India

India has been one of Sweden’s largest recipients of financial assistance since the 1960s, when Sida was founded. When India tested nuclear weapons in 1998, the Swedish government decided to terminate the bilateral development cooperation agreement. The cooperation continued through support to multilateral organisations and civil society in India. During the last strategy period 2009-2013 the traditional aid was phased out and focus was put on partner driven cooperation.

Partner Driven Cooperation

The objective of Partner Driven Cooperation has been to achieve self-sustained relationships between Swedish and Indian actors, relations that could benefit people living in poverty. The collaborations have focused on exchange of knowledge and experience in areas where India had an interest to develop and where Sweden had a comparative advantage.

Swedish actors are often unsure of the business conditions in India and are hesitant to initiate collaborations. Indian actors generally know very little about Sweden. Therefore, Sida played a role in stimulating collaborations and providing Indian and Swedish partners the opportunity to meet and exchange ideas.

Financial support was provided to partnerships between Swedish and Indian actors and to “facilitators” who worked to stimulate collaborations.

In addition to bilateral assistance, multilateral organisations and civil society organisations have carried out Sida-financed activities in India. Furthermore, several Indian companies have received a planning grant from the programme Innovations Against Poverty.

Environment and Climate

Collaboration in the field of environmental protection was extensive and has had a special focus on energy, sustainable urban development and water resource management. Examples of initiatives are the Swedish Energy Agency's collaboration with Indian and Swedish actors in energy efficiency, waste management and biogas production in order to increase knowledge exchange and technology transfer between the countries. The Swedish Environmental Research Institute (IVL) has worked to promote cooperation in the paper and pulp industry. Within the field of water, there have been two major financed initiatives: Stockholm International Water Institute’s (SIWI) collaboration with the retail clothing companies Lindex, Indiska and KappAhl, aimed to improve the water management at Indian textile companies. The other part of the support went to the Indian town of Kurseong and its efforts to develop a sustainable system for water resource management.

The collaboration with the Indian environmental organisation Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) was on-going for several years. In addition to support for CSE's regular activities, it has involved funding for the training of Indian environmental inspectors in cooperation with the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency. Another organisation that received support wasToxics Link  who worked to reduce the use of and improve the management of toxic substances and hazardous waste.


Active efforts in the health sector, within the framework of Partner Driven Cooperation, have contributed to several collaborations in areas that are particularly prioritized by India, including public health, maternal and child health care, non-contagious diseases and antibiotic resistance. The medical university Karolinska Institutet  worked with a number of Indian partners to develop the roles of midwives, thereby improving maternal health care. Cooperation between Uppsala University and IPAS  aimed at increasing access to safe abortion. The Indian NGO Mamta  worked together with Lund University to create more youth-friendly health services. Antibiotic resistance is a major problem in India and the collaboration between the Swedish Institute for Communicable Disease Control and its Indian counterpart the National Centre for Disease Control, aimed at developing a national programme in this area.

Information for Sida's cooperation partners in projects in India

Sida has gathered tips and advice for partners who are about to make a final report of their projects.

Read more about developments in India.

Page owner: The Communication Department

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