India plays a leadership role for natural resources in the Asian-Pacific region. It is the world's largest democracy and the seventh largest country in the world with an estimated population of 1.3 billion people. Over the past 40 years, the U.S. Forest Service has collaborated with India on watershed management, wildlife conservation, and improving forest health and productivity. India has been a pioneer in community forestry, inspiring many nations, from neighboring Nepal to the United States, to reconsider how forest management systems can succeed with genuine local control. Furthermore, with exceptionally high animal and plant biodiversity, India is a high global priority for nature conservation. For these reasons, technical cooperation between the U.S. and India is not only mutually beneficial, but also globally beneficial.
The U.S. Forest Service is currently partnering with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to support continued scientific and technical exchange with the Government of India and other counterparts in the forestry sector. Recent collaborations with the Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change have included workshops on remote sensing, ecosystem monitoring, and forest inventory and carbon estimations, as well as an assessment of institutional and organizational capacity to implement the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) mechanism in India.
Since 2004, with support from USAID/Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance, the U.S. Forest Service has conducted disaster risk reduction (DRR) programs in the form of Incident Command System trainings. These enduring trainings have created robust partnerships with the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), the National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM), and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF)—one of the world’s largest standing humanitarian response forces. Ongoing DRR programs will continue to include Incident Response System (IRS) and EOC training and will leverage India’s vast disaster response capacity as a regional leader within South Asia.