Choosing to jump on its own terms than face the ignominy of waiting to be pushed, India may have politely but firmly asked the UK not to send any more aid from next year in a sign of the country’s increasing self-confidence on the global stage.
Citing whispers in London’s corridors of power that suggest the country’s Department for International Development (DFID) was preparing to radically reduce the cash sent to India, the Indian Express reported on Wednesday that Nirupama Rao, India’s Foreign Secretary, had asked the Finance Secretary “not to avail any further DFID assistance with effect from 1st April 2011.”
A DFID spokesperson told Reuters: “All DFID’s country programmes are currently under review to ensure our aid helps the poorest people in the poorest countries. No decision on future funding to India has been made and we are in close dialogue with the Government of India.” The Ministry for External Affairs were not available for comment.
Since 1998, India has received more British aid than any other country, worth over £1.5 billion ($2.3 billion) in the past five years.
If the report is true, the Indian government’s decision to end aid would signal that the country wants to be in control of its own financial affairs, rather than appearing dependent on others. It demonstrates a confident approach to international relations and an assertion that the country is able to look after itself.