HC Deb 21 March 1927 vol 204 cc2-3
2. Mr. SPOOR

asked the Under-Secretary of State for India whether he has noted the discontent expressed in the Legislative Assembly regarding the statement of the Finance Member that the Army Estimates are likely in the future to increase rather than diminish; and whether the Secretary of State was consulted before the statement was made as to its possible effects on the political situation in India?


I have not yet seen any detailed criticisms of the statements made on this subject in the course of the Budget Debate. My Noble Friend was not consulted and sees no reason why he should have been. In any event, where the safety of India is in question he would not be deterred by possible political consequences from the plain duty of stating unpalatable facts.


Is the Noble Lord aware that full and detailed reports have been published in the British Press and that, according to these reports, there has been very severe criticism by the Indian representatives, of the statement made?

Lieut.-Colonel HOWARD-BURY

Is it not a fact that in recent years there has been an enormous decrease in military expenditure in India?


With regard to the first supplementary question, there may have been reports in the British Press but it is a well-understood rule of this House, that when questions are put to a Minister he replies from the official information at his disposal. I have said I have not seen any detailed criticisms and no detailed criticisms have been sent home by the Government of India. With regard to the second supplementary question, there has been an immense decrease in the military expenditure in India over the last six years—I think the greatest proportionate decrease of any comparable army, anywhere in the world.


Is consideration given to the opinions of members of the Legislative Assembly?


If the hon. Gentleman will be good enough to read the debates in the Legislative Assembly, of which I shall be pleased to supply him with a copy, he will see that on almost every occasion full consideration is given by the Government of India to opinions expressed by members.