Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

India and British aid

There is anger in UK over aid to India after India chose Rafale over Typhoon. The contract for 126 Rafale fighter jets is said to be worth $10-15 billion. British PM David Cameron said he would do everything to encourage India to reconsider its decision. UK has an economic crisis but gives £280 million per year to India. There was opposition before but International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell had justified the aid saying it was necessary to get contract for Typhoon. British newspapers have reported that the money does not reach the poor and is lost in corruption. Now that UK did not get the contract the British government finds it difficult to justify continuation of aid. Indian government says it does not need aid. British aid is “peanuts”. UK cannot dictate terms to India and say do business only with us as India is a liberated country.

First of all, a country that is a nuclear power and wants to be a permanent member of UN Security Council should not import war planes, war ships, arms and armaments. Whatever is needed for defence should be made in India. Foreign companies may have partnership with Indian companies and may manufacture in India. They may export to other countries provided those countries are not hostile to India. Some say Dassault, manufacturer of Rafale, is a white elephant and would have collapsed without Indian contract. Some months back USA was a bidder for fighter jets and there was disappointment in USA when it could not proceed with bid. For years Russians sold fighter jets to India. They were not in the competition. Russia delayed supply of Admiral Gorshkov for many years and the cost went up by billions of dollars.

Secondly, India’s central and state governments and local bodies should not accept any aid from India. NGOs and trusts may accept foreign aid and contributions. Indian government should use its money to help its people and not give aid to other countries. It should scrap projects that do not help people. Spending thousands of crores of rupees to send man to Moon should stop. Properties of defaulters to public sector banks should be confiscated. Air India and other loss making enterprises should be shut down.

India should insist on punctuality in honouring contracts. Boeing has delayed supply of aeroplanes by more than three years and still there is no supply. India should cancel the contract.

British government should take care of its people and not give aid to other countries. Many people have lost their jobs. The riots that took place some months back show how bad the situation is. There is London Olympics this year.

Some Indians are in favour of continued aid from British government. Indian government had accepted aid and should not have been ungrateful. The aid amounts to 2240 crore rupees per year and not a small amount. The poor do not care from where the money comes. There is malnutrition. The government is not doing its job about education and health. Countries give aid with some purpose. India’s aid to Afghanistan, Burma and African countries is not disinterested.

Some want India to reject British aid and cut fertilizer, water, petrol and other subsidies that benefit the rich people and use that money to help the poor. All subsidies and freebies must go.

What happened to Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd? Where did Gnats disappear? They were said to be good war planes. They were spoken of highly and were praised after 1971 war. What happened to manufacture of civilian aircraft?

France and UK are members of EU and NATO. They were on the same side when they voted on Libya and Syria resolutions in Security Council. Not getting fighter jet contract has made UK bitter against India and France. In the 18th century the British and the French fought over India and the British won. India should avoid being fought over. India has nuclear weapons. Nuclear weapons are a deterrent as Pakistan showed when it threatened to use them if American ground forces invaded it.

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  1. There are a few ridiculous points in this article. First of all, WHY shouldnt India import war planes just because it wants to be on the UNSC? The UK imports weapons!! India does build its war planes, but due to the sanctions regime, India suffered after her nuclear tests. This prevented technology transfer and sales, and only now has that problem been solved. Also WHY shouldnt India send men to space or pursue a space program?

    The truth is, that India is becoming a market based economy. Gandhian principles, where you put people first, is not gonna get India anywhere in the international forum. India should invest heavily in technology,research,space and defence.

    Sure there will be a lot of people who will be poor. But the country can only improve through pursuing technology.

    Lastly the Indian govt accepted aid under pressure form britain becuse the british begged India to take the aid, cuz a refusal would lead to political embarrasement. Not entirely India’s fault. I know there is no such thing as free aid, but to bring it up publicly and tie it to a business deal is silly and amusing.

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