HC Deb 20 December 1999 vol 341 cc427-8W
Mr. Godsiff

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what aid has been provided to(a) Indian-controlled Kashmir and (b) Azad Kashmir since May 1997. [102978]

Clare Short

Since May 1997, we have provided £650,000 to the International Committee of the Red Cross for their humanitarian assistance programme in Jammu and Kashmir and £132,500 to the Save the Children Fund to support their work there. In addition, about £19,000 has been provided under the Small Grants Scheme to help equip a maternity hospital in Anantnag.

Azad Kashmir has received no direct Department for International Development (DFID) assistance during the period in question, but it has benefited from our support for Pakistan's Social Action Programme. Prior to the military coup in Pakistan, we were in preliminary discussions with the Azad Kashmiri and Pakistani authorities about possible direct support for elementary education in the area. Those discussions were suspended when our bilateral assistance to the Pakistan Government was frozen on 15 October. We are also willing to consider assistance for victims in Azad Kashmir of the conflict in the region, if a suitable channel for our funds could be identified.