UK likely to scrap aid to India, increase Burma's share to fight for democracy

London, Feb 14 (ANI): To support the struggle for democracy in Burma, British aid to the Southeast Asian country is all set to be increased sharply while aid to India is likely to be scrapped.

A review carried out at the behest of International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell has concluded the 32 million pounds currently spent in Burma should increase to a total of 185 million pounds over the next four years.

The ruling British coalition says the total budget for international aid budget is to be increased by 37 per cent in real terms, The Independent reports.

It is expected that the aid budgets to many countries will be sharply reduced or scrapped. India, whose economy is growing by more than eight per cent and where Britain currently annually spends 280 million pounds, is one of those places where some believe aid should be halted.

Officials say the money will target grass roots organisations and other partners working there and not to the military junta, the paper said.

"Britain has not forgotten the people of Burma, who have been silenced for too long. They have suffered under decades of dreadful economic mismanagement and human rights abuses as well as the ongoing threat of civil war and famine," Mitchell said.

"The poorest in Burma must have a voice. We will build up civil society, local charities, village groups and their representatives to push for change," he said.

The full review, which is expected to be announced later this month or in early March, found that in Burma at least 16 million people live in desperate hardship.

The junta, which recently oversaw controversial elections for a largely toothless parliament, spends just a meager amount on services healthcare and education. (ANI)

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