UK to end financial aid to India by 2015, focus on trade

Featured India - November 12th, 2012
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The UK is set to end financial aid to India from 2015 and will focus on technical assistance instead as the former British colony emerges as an economic power.

Britain’s international development secretary, Justine Greening, announced Friday that financial assistance worth 200 million euros ($319 million) will be phased out between now and 2015. The UK will make no new commitments during the gradual lifting of direct financial support, underscoring London’s recognition of India’s economic progress and status, BBC reports.

“Having visited India, I have seen at first hand the tremendous progress being made. India is successfully developing and our own bilateral relationship has to keep up with 21st century India,” Ms. Greening told the Financial Times, stressing the need to move towards a trade-based relationship.

New Delhi has welcomed the move, saying it was “perfectly acceptable” for the UK to reduce assistance. “We don’t really need the aid,” Finance minister P. Chidambaram said. “We have accepted it in the past but I think both countries have agreed that we can emphasize on trade, rather than aid.

“Aid is the past and trade is the future,” said Salman Khurshid, India’s foreign minister.

Charities, however, were wary of London’s decision, stressing that a third of the world’s poorest people live in India. “Despite India’s impressive economic progress, 1.6 million children died in India last year – a quarter of all global child deaths,” said Kitty Arie, director of advocacy for charity Save The Children.