Justine Greening, who took over as development secretary last month, said she wants to see Britain's links to richer developing nations become about business, rather than hand-outs.
Greening's comments came amid pressure on her to get better value for money from Britain's 12 billion- annual spending on countries like China and India, which have their own space programme. Signalling that India will be a target for cuts, she said, "We should recognise that as countries get richer, we need to be responsible about how we transition in our relationship with them from aid to trade."
"Those are the discussions that I am having with the Indian government at the moment," Greening said at the Tory Party conference in Birmingham. Greening also pledged to stop programmes that are not working because of corruption or inefficiency, amid criticism of many old schemes. "I'm going to take a new approach to ensure that every pound we spend has the biggest possible impact," she was quoted as saying by The Telegraph.
"That may well mean stopping programmes where I don't think they are working and putting the money elsewhere." Prime Minister David Cameron has come under criticism for promising to keep spending 0.7% of GDP on foreign aid during the recession.