Thursday, November 7, 2013

INDIA launched a mission to Mars yesterday – after taking hundreds of millions of pounds in UK Aid


The Asian nation blasted a rocket carrying a satellite bound for the Red Planet, ­despite pocketing half the cost of its space programme in handouts from Britain.
There were huge celebrations in Delhi yesterday as India’s £600m project saw the country join the US, Russia and Europe in the race to reach Mars.
But the launch sparked anger in Britain, which annually gives India a whopping £280m in aid.
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Jonathan Isaby, of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “It’s atrocious that taxpayers are still handing money to a country rich enough to be blasting off to Mars.

“If India can afford this it does not need a penny of British taxpayers’ money.” Polls show most Brits resent our £12billion foreign aid budget rising when Whitehall spending is being slashed.

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India is the second biggest recipient – and although the Government has vowed to end aid there, this will not happen until 2015.

Tory MP Andrew Mitchell approved £1.1billion over four years in 2010 when he was International Development Secretary. But ministers were embarrassed last year when India said it did not need our money – with President Pranab Mukherjee, who was then finance minister, branding our payments “peanuts".

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A spokesman for the Department for Inter­national Development said: “Not a penny of British taxpayers’ aid money has gone on ­India’s space programme.”

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