India is likely to be told this week that Britain plans to cut its £280 million a year aid to it following growing domestic pressure on Prime Minister David Cameron to stop funding emerging economic powers such as India, China and Brazil at a time when Britain itself faces a serious economic crisis.
According to The Sunday Times, the news will be conveyed to the Indian Government by International Development Secretary Justine Greening during her upcoming visit to New Delhi. She is expected to discuss a time-table for “winding down” British aid commitment to India.
“She is expected to make it clear that the UK’s commitment to India will change radically at the end of the current eight-year £1.6 bn programme which lasts until 2015,” the paper said adding that she would open negotiations to replace aid with trade.
“A transition package will be put in place to bring down Britain’s aid contributions.”
India has already made clear repeatedly that it does not want British aid. President Pranab Mukherjee, when he was Finance Minister, dismissed it as “peanuts”.
Ms. Greening reportedly discussed the issue with Indian officials during a World Bank meeting in Tokyo last month. She told MPs last week that she wanted to continue those talks “as a matter of urgency”.
A government source was reported as saying that it had been “made clear over the last couple of years that we do not expect to be in India indefinitely”.