HC Deb 13 April 1965 vol 710 cc1133-4
4. Mr. Stratton Mills

asked the Minister of Overseas Development following her recent visit to India and Pakistan, what proposals she has regarding the British aid programme to these countries.

Mrs. Castle

During my visit to India I discussed with the Planning Commission and with Ministers the integration of the future planning of our technical and capital assistance with the Indian Government's own forward planning so as to ensure the most effective British contribution to India's development needs. These discussions will be of great value when we consider specific future requirements with the Indian authorities.

As regards Pakistan, I would refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Willesden, West (Mr. Pavitt) on 23rd February.

Mr. Stratton Mills

Is it not time that the Minister began making up her mind as a result of her visit to India and Pakistan about exactly what she proposes to do? Is she aware that our capital assistance to Pakistan, for example, is £8½ million per annum, while our technical assistance is only £½ million? What are the criteria for this difference? Would she also make clear whether she is considering any change in the distribution between the two forms of assistance?

Mrs. Castle

I would first correct the hon. Gentleman. Our technical assistance to India is currently running at over £¾ million. Action has already been taken, particularly in the technical assistance field, to meet the specific requirements which the Indian Government expressed to me during my visit. With regard to capital aid, our pledge for 1965–66 will be made at a meeting of the Aid India consortium later this month.

Mr. Sydney Silverman

Can my right hon. Friend say what proposals she has in mind to ensure that Belfast, North makes an adequate contribution to these proposals?

Mr. Speaker

We must regularise even Northern Ireland, in the circumstances, to bring it within the reply.

Mr. R. Carr

Is the right hon. Lady aware that India and Pakistan are two of the countries in which aid by private investment will be most severely hit by the recent proposals of the Chancellor of the Exchequer? What will she do about this?

Mrs. Castle

There is a later Question on private investment.

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