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British MPs question aid commitments to India

Feb 07, 2012 06:44 AM IST Politics Politics
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New Delhi: Despite public unease and opposition from UK's Conservative MPs, the British government has decided to go ahead with its aid commitments to India.

The British MPs had questioned the need to give aid to a prosperous India when they're battling an economic crisis back home. The row deepened after the 'The Sunday Telegraph' carried a statement quoting Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee equating British aid to peanuts in 2010.

With India recently sealing the deal with French fighter jets Rafale and snubbing the British made Typhoon, the protest has only grown. The Left party has slammed the British government's decision to impose conditional economic aid to India.

An odd sort of situation has arisen with the Indian ministers saying about a year back that they don't want British aid and the British continuing to offer it, even in the face of growing criticism and objections from members of the ruling party but even more awkwardly the public statements seem to suggest that the British are more concerned about the poor in India with, and Indian officials say that this aid seems to embraces India more than it helps Indians but it seems to be a diplomatic agreement that the aid such as it is will continue.

CPM leader Sitaram Yechury said, "Britain is reacting in typical manner in which the conservative Tory (party) led government would react. They are saying that if you are not meeting our interests, why should we give you aid. So be it. I mean if the aid is only tied and conditional the aid is not going to be helpful to India."

Referring to the decision on Rafale, Union Minister and Congress leader Veerappa Moily said, "Business cannot work on monopolies, but (depends) on competitiveness. Whatever the best quality and whatever the prices, we do business.

"Any country cannot dictate and say that you do business only with me and not anybody else, I don't think this can run. We have to deal with things that are in the best interests of the country."

With additional information from PTI