India

Modi calls for defence equipment to be made in India

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Indian PM Narendra Modi calls for defence equipment to be made in India during airshow.

India has unveiled a massive military spending plan that will see it splash out more than £10billion on a fleet of new warships and submarines.

The country will bolster its navy by building seven frigates at the cost of £5.2million with a further £5.2million spent on six nuclear-powered submarines.

Last night, MPs said the lavish spending showed Britain is right to stop dolling out hundreds of millions of pounds in aid to India from the end of this year.

The decision to bolster India’s navy comes after it has been rattled in recent months by the presence of Chinese submarines docked in Sri Lanka just off its southern coast.

The frigates, which are being made in a programme called Project-17A, will be built at government shipyards in Mumbai and Kolkata.

There has been growing anger from Tory backbenchers over spending on Britain’s aid budget at a time when public services are being slashed in the UK.

In 2012, the government announced that it would wind up its aid programme to India by the end of this year as its economy booms.

International Development Secretary Justine Greening said: ‘It is time to recognise India’s changing place in the world.

‘After reviewing the programme and holding discussions with the government of India, we agreed that now is the time to move to a relationship focusing on skill sharing rather than aid.’

All financial aid grants from the UK to India will cease in 2015, after which the government has said it will ‘only provide support in the form of private sector expertise and technical assistance’.

Tory MP Peter Bone said last night: ‘This is why we should not be giving any aid to India.

Indian PM Narendra Modi calls for defence equipment to be made in India during airshow.

‘It was not aid that brought India out of poverty but trade. Aid is just a sticking plaster.’

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