Britain to continue India aid, to focus on three poorest states
Brushing aside demands for halting Britain's financial assistance to India, Prime Minister David Cameron's government will continue to provide aid but will now change its approach and focus on three poorest states.
London: Brushing aside demands for halting Britain's financial assistance to India, Prime Minister David Cameron's government will continue to provide aid but will now change its approach and focus on three poorest states, a top official has said.
"We have reviewed our aid commitments to India. We continue to think it is right to stick to those aid
commitments. We continue to provide aid to India, but we focus it on the three poorest states," Cameron's spokesman said.
His comments came amidst a row sparked by some ruling Conservative MPs demanding an end to aid, and reports that India did not need it.
"The reason we are doing that is because a huge number of the poorest people in the world live in these states. The Government has always been very clear about sticking to its aid commitments and the fact that it would not balance the books on the backs of the poorest people in the world. It is going to stick to that," the spokesman said without identifying the three states.
International aid is among few areas that have not been subjected to deep funding cuts by the economically-strapped Cameron government, which has faced much ridicule and more for continuing to send aid to an increasingly prosperous India.
Britain currently gives 280 million pounds annually to India, totalling £1.4 billion between now and 2015.
International Development secretary Andrew Mitchell had defended the aid, saying: "We will not be in India for ever but now is not the time to quit. Our completely revamped programme is in India's and Britain's national interest and is a small part of a much wider relationship between our two countries".
He, however, added: "We are changing our approach to India. We will target aid at three of India's poorest states, rather than central Government."