New Delhi: India on Thursday summarily dismissed UK moves to slash its aid of 280 million pounds per annum by half to it with External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid saying that "aid is past, trade is future."
Addressing a joint press conference with his UK counterpart William Hague, Khurshid said that the matter was not discussed. "If we did not discuss it (aid issue), it did not merit a discussion."
The remarks came in the backdrop of reports that UK was planning to slash its assistance to India by half due to mounting domestic criticism that Britain`s overseas assistance was not justified in times of downturn.
On his part, Hague said Britain`s international development secretary Justine Greening would be examining the issue and take a decision.
He also said the two countries are holding talks on the issue. "We have been discussing the issue... The governments of UK and India have agreed on the way forward on this issue," Hague said, adding that Greening would be issuing a statement and he did "not want to pre-empt the issue".
Khurshid said the two sides had discussed all aspects of bilateral trade, which "has immense potential" and noted that India is third largest investor in Britain, while the UK also has major investments in India.
President Pranab Mukherjee as finance minister had dismissed British aid as "peanuts" in India`s total development expenditure.