HC Deb 08 June 1944 vol 400 cc1492-3
25. Sir Irving Albery

asked the Secretary of State for India the nature of any financial contribution which has been, or is being, made by India towards the present war effort.

Mr. Amery

In accordance with the agreement announced in the House in February, 1940, India has borne during the war the cost of her pre-war forces increased by rises of pay and prices; the normal cost of the external defence troops, plus a contribution of 10,000,000 rupees towards their extra costs while employed overseas. India has also borne the cost of local measures of defence, including the cost of raising, training and equipping large bodies of Indian troops the pay of all British Forces at present in India, the cost of aerodrome construction and military works, and of the Royal Indian Navy. In addition Reciprocal Aid has been afforded to the American forces in India and supplies of foodstuffs and raw materials are being furnished to America for war purposes. The sums borne by India under these heads to 31st March last are estimated to amount to approximately £600 million and the costs are now running at about £225 million a year. India's pre-war defence budget was £34 million.

Mr. Stephen

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether Mr. Gandhi and other popular leaders in India were consulted before these contributions were made?

Mr. Amery

They had their opportunity, of raising the matter in the discussions on the Indian Budget.

Mr. Godfrey Nicholson

In view of the great interest which is taken in the financial relations between this country and India, will my right hon. Friend consider the issuing of an explanatory White Paper; and will he also take advantage of the presence in this country of a high Indian financial authority to see that that individual places his opinions before Members of this House?

Mr. Amery

I will keep these matters under consideration.