TCDC (Technical Cooperation between Developing Countries) was coined as a UN acronym by an Argentinian diplomat nearly 20 years ago. The Buenos Aires Plan of Action for Promoting and Implementing TCDC, adopted in 1978, was the first formal step to promoting such cooperation, as a complement to the North-South technological transfer previously favoured by the developed world. The institutionalization of TCDC was a sign that the countries of the South and the North had recognized two things – that, in terms of technologies and development experience, the South had much to offer itself, and that Northern solutions to Southern problems were often wide of the mark, precisely because project staff often lacked experience of local conditions.
TCDC was implemented in accordance with the vision of South-South cooperation envisaged by the Non-Aligned Movement. During the 1973 Algeria Summit, the Movement put economic cooperation a high place in its priorities. The Movement developed broad policies for a North – South Dialogue within the UN System. The C-77, being the negotiating arm of the developing countries, launched a North-South Dialogue which went through preliminary talks and later an attempt at global negotiations was also made.
After the Jakarta Summit, the NAM worked hard and succeeded in re-launching the North-South Dialogue and intensifying of South-South Cooperation. As pointed out by President Suharto during the Summit, that the North—South relationship cannot be changed while South-South Cooperation remains unchanged. Since The Jakarta Summit, NAM has focused on Cooperation. The clear example on this is the South-South initiative of the NAM that has had the greatest impact on the Asia-Africa Forum which was held in December 1994 in Bandung. In this forum, a follow up to the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD), the developing countries of the Far East which have impressed the world with their dynamic growth shared experiences, observation, and insights with the developing countries of Africa. The Forum has resulted in the establishment of a solid foundation for promotion of development cooperation between Asian and African Countries.TCDC is inextricably linked to the establishment of a New International Economic Order (NIEO), and has emerged as means of building communication and promoting wider and more effective cooperation among developing countries. It is a vital force for initiating, designing, organising, and promoting cooperation among developing countries so that they can create, acquire, adapt, transfer and pool knowledge and experience for their mutual benefit and for achieving national and collective self-reliance, which are essential for their social and economic development. TCDC remains widely regarded as a viable and valuable engine for economic cooperation and development among countries of the South. TCDC is a part of South-South Cooperation continues to grow. It is assumed that the dimensions of parallel form of assistance and skills transfer in tandem with traditional forms of cooperation with countries of the North.
As a prominent member of NAM as well as one of the fastest growing economies in the world, India has initiated a series of program much before the official launch of the TCDC. The Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) Programme was instituted by a decision of the Indian Cabinet on 15 September 1964 as a bilateral programme of assistance of the Government of India. ITEC resources have been used for financing technical cooperation programmes conceived in regional and inter-regional context such as Economic Commission for Africa, Industrial Development Unit of Commonwealth Secretariat, UNIDO, Group of 77 and G-15. In more recent years, its activities have also been associated with regional and multilateral organizations and cooperation groupings like Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), Mekong-Ganga Cooperation (MGC), African Union (AU), Afro-Asian Rural Development Organization (AARDO), Pan African Parliament, Caribbean Community (CARICOM), World Trade Organization (WTO) and Indian Ocean Rim –Association for Regional Cooperation (IORARC). Thus, the ITEC Programme constitutes an integral part of India’s South-South Cooperation effort which has been a traditional pillar of the country’s foreign policy and diplomacy, and is in consonance with the vision of extending economic, scientific and technical cooperation among the developing countries envisaged by the Non-Aligned Movement.