Britain to end aid to India in 2015: Minister

Britain to end aid to India in 2015: Minister
London: Britain will stop all aid to India in 2015 and the assistance budget will be reduced by around £200 million ($320 million) a year until then, the International Development Minister said Friday.

Justine Greening said in a statement that after holding discussions with the Indian government earlier this week "we agreed that now is the time to move to a relationship focusing on skills-sharing rather than aid".

The decision by Britain, India's former colonial ruler, comes after controversy at home that London is paying money to a country that can fund its own space programme at a time when British taxpayers face harsh austerity.

Britain has previously defended its aid payments to India on the basis that tens of millions of Indians live in poverty.

"Having visited India I have seen first hand the tremendous progress being made. India is successfully developing and our own bilateral relationship has to keep up with 21st century India," Greening said.

"It's time to recognise India's changing place in the world.

"It is of course critical that we fulfil all the commitments we have already made and that we continue with those short-term projects already underway which are an important part of the UK and government of India's development programme."

The Department of International Development statement confirmed: "Justine Greening will not sign off any new programmes, and financial aid programmes to the country will end completely in 2015."