Nigel Farage claims the UK should not be “giving a penny” of foreign aid to India if it has the resources to land on the surface of the Moon.
On Wednesday, the Chandrayaan-3 rocket made history when it became the first vehicle to land on the Moon’s south pole. It is an area that little is known about.
It also made India – the world’s most populous country – only the fourth nation to land any kind of vehicle on the Moon. With the United States, China, and Russia already having done so.
It has led to calls from former UKIP leader Nigel Farage for the UK Government to stop sending foreign aid to India. It is thought the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) sent £33.4 million to India in 2022/23.
This is expected to grow to £57 million in 2024/25. Speaking on GB News, Farage said: “India managed to land a probe on the Moon on the south pole of the Moon, no other country has ever managed to achieve this before.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi said this is a ‘great victor for new India’, talking about loads more investment going into the science sector. Well good for India.
“As they spend their money on space probes, as they spend their money on the military, on nuclear weapons, still half of their country lives below the poverty line. The biggest injustice of all is that between 2016 and 2021, we at the United Kingdom gave £2.3 billion of foreign aid to India.
“Our contribution next year is going up 70%. I’m going to put it to you folks that I don’t think we should be giving a penny of your money in foreign aid to a country that has enough resources to land on the Moon.”
According to the Independent Commission for Aid Impact, a majority of the cash sent to India from the UK supports “development investment”, “research partnerships” and other projects aiming at supporting the relationship between the two nations.
The ICAI says the UK does not fund poverty projects or offer financial support to the Indian Government. It did however rate the impact UK aid has on India as being “amber to red” – the second worst.
It said: “While the aid portfolio may be helping to support UK-India bilateral relations, it lacks a strong link to poverty reduction, which remains the statutory purpose of UK aid.”
The Government defended suggestions it focuses on reducing climate change instead. It said: “We note, but do not accept ICAI’s view that there is lack of explicit rationale on poverty reduction. The review also recognises however that it is economic growth that has driven the reduction in poverty in India, both by providing more opportunities for poor people to increase their incomes and by government being able to invest more in infrastructure and services.”