Britain begged India to accept aid money: Telegraph

Indian Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee last year asked the UK to cease giving aid to the country’s booming economy, but relented after being begged to take the money for fear of “grave political embarrassment”, reports the UK’s Telegraph newspaper.

“We do not require the aid. It is a peanut in our total development exercises [expenditure],” Mukherjee told the upper house of Indian parliament, during question time, adding that the government wanted to give it up.

India is the top recipient of UK foreign aid, according to the Telegraph expose. The UK has given £1 billion in aid to India in the last five years and has earmarked a further £600 million in aid by 2015.

Projects from Britain’s Department for International Development (DFID) are mired in controversy, reports the Telegraph. They include a £118,000 program to install satellite tracking on municipal buses in Bhopal – years before the technology was used in the UK – and program to deliver 7000 televisions to schools despite the lack of electricity.

Amid a surging anti-corruption movement in India, the Telegraph alleges that £70 million disappeared from one DFID-funded project along, and that £44,000 of British aid was “allegedly siphoned off by one project official to finance a movie directed by her son.”

Junior Development Minister Alan Duncan claimed that cutting off British aid to India “would mean that hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people, will die who otherwise could live,” according to the Telegraph.

The admission by India is significant, implying India’s ascension as an aid donor in the region rather than a recipient, despite its own extremes of poverty and wealth. India now donates almost as much in bilateral development as it receives, according to the Telegraph’s report, of which the Maldives is a key beneficiary.

Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) was donated to the Maldives by India, along with military helicopter, scholarships and copious financial assistance, among other interests. An Indian company, GMR, has the country’s single largest foreign investment in the US$400 million renovation and upgrade of Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (INIA), while the growing mid-market tourism industry is looking towards the huge Indian middle class as a wealthy market for the Maldives tourism product on the country’s doorstep.

“The Maldives is perhaps one of India’s closest partners,” observed The Indian High Commissioner Dynaneshwar Mulay during India’s recent Republic Day celebrations.

Cooperation also extends to the military, with the installation of a coastal radar array plugged directly into the Indian defence network.

More recently, Indian interest in the Maldives has been challenged by rival China, which conspicuously opened its embassy in Male’ last year during the SAARC Summit.


6 thoughts on “Britain begged India to accept aid money: Telegraph”

  1. Gmr largest investment, my backside! They are investing from cash they generate from a very profitable airport and the rest bank financing. Pls do not mislead Maldivians when writing articles. Thank you

  2. Sigh...We had Foreign Direct Investments in this country before but did Nasheed have to politicize every project he handed out?

    That is what's causing the dissension among the people and constant criticism of foreign investors invited by Nasheed.

    I'm not saying it's right but it's a natural consequence of promoting foreign direct investments on a party line instead of making it a national issue.

  3. Every single democratic country tries to politicise their foreign investment programmes. For example, the UK prime minister would proudly point at Indian investment in the UK and try to get as much political leverage as he could out of that. Barack Obama does the same, and the list goes on.

    This is not an invention by Nasheed in 2008! It's part of the "democratic" system we chose. As the saying goes, "be careful of what you ask for". I don't think most of the population knew what they were "asking for".

    Truth is, Indian and China are almost the only significant countries in the world now with regard to foreign investment as they are cash rich. Where did the European Union go, begging for cash to prop up their ill fated single currency? It was China.

    Similarly, there was a large trade expedition by the UK to India late last year. The old world order has changed and the shift of global economic and political power is towards the East. It's a very good thing that we are close partners with India.

  4. Maldives could not generate money out of the airport after making various efforts by the 30 year old DICTATORSHIP. And again when this DICTATOR fell down from Office, the country was starving. Not only starving but also there was no program setup for housing, health insurance, economic development and that President Nasheed had no choice...that's why GMR is there to help Maldives develop the airport....

    Don't talk bullship blindly my dear friends!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. India's largest aid is to Afghanistan: 2 billion dollars (hospitals, schools, power stations, planes, buses, a strategic highway).
    Hope this works when you Brits (and your US masters) pull out and leave a mess for India to sort out.
    Also, Indians (Tata esp. - Jaguar, Corus, Tata Consultancy) are now Britain's largest employer.
    Catch up.

  6. Hi,

    I am Ilyas (Male)and I agree with this article. Stupid Brits are now arroghant beggars. When I was visit London, many did not know that Maldives was a beautiful country ...It is very important that we develop good relations with India and China.I live in Chennay (Madrass) and the people were very friendly towards me and my brother. Not sure about GMR but I have many India friends who treat me like brothers. Same with China...but we need to be more careful.
    Good luck Maldives!


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