London: "Why should poor Britain continue
its economic aid to rich India?" leading NRI peer Lord
Meghnath Desai asked Nitin Gadkari, leaving the visiting BJP
Realising that the unexpected question at a dinner at
the Prestigious Asia House here last night was basically to
seek his views on the on-going debate in recession-hit Britain
that the government should stop its development aid to fast
developing nations like India.
Britain has been providing around four million pounds
worth of aid through various agencies to different Indian
states for improving rural health and sanitation, drinking
water facilities in tribal areas and primary education in
Gadkari told the former director of the London School
of Economics that the British aid has been very helpful in
improving the lot of poor people in backward and tribal areas
of India. It has maintained link between the two countries.
But in view of the difficult economic situation faced
by the country, if the British government wants to withdraw
this aid it is for them to decide, Gadkari said.
He agreed with Lord Desai that India was very much in
a position to take care of its problems and that the Indian
states should be able to continue the development work without
the British aid.
The BJP president said his party favoured Indo-British
cooperation in areas like agriculture, irrigation, water
management, power, renewable energy sources and infrastructure
like rural roads and invited the British companies to invest
in the BJP-ruled states on public-private partnership basis.
A large number of British industrialists, businessmen,
Lords and legal experts were present at the dinner.
The BJP president was accompanied by Vasundhara Raje,
former Rajasthan Chief Minister, Smriti Irani, MP and
president of the BJP Mahila Morcha and Vijay Jolly and Amit
Thaker, convenor and convenor of the Overseas Friends of BJP.
Earlier in the day Gadkari held an interactive session
with the Oxford University students on climate change
organised by the UK Youth Climate Coalition (UKYCC).
He also addressed the UK India Business Council
(UKIBC) where he explored Indo-British cooperation in skilled
management and small and medium enterprise.