India lands on moon despite having taken £2.3bn in UK aid over five years

Historic moment India succeed in dark side of the moon landing

On the day India landed a spacecraft near the south pole of the Moon, a Brexiteer has asked why Britain continues to pay foreign aid to the world’s second-most populous nation – having handed over £2.3billion between 2016 and 2021.

On Wednesday (August 23), India landed a spacecraft in uncharted territory which scientists believe could hold vital reserves of frozen water and precious elements, as the country cements its growing prowess in space and technology.

However, while many, including the UK Space Agency itself, offered their congratulations, former Brexit Party MEP Ben Habib was more concerned about the fact that Britain is still paying money to a nation whose economy dwarfs our own.

He told “It is odd, to put it mildly, that the UK gives increasing amounts of aid to India, a country with a space programme and an economy bigger than our own.

“Kemi Badenoch may think the aid will make her job getting a trade agreement easier, but it will not.

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“They will take the aid, bank it and drive negotiations without any recognition of our generosity.

“Neither can the UK afford it. It should not have escaped the FCDO that we are in the grip of a cost-of-living crisis. Our finances stretched.

“Instead of spraying aid around the world, perhaps HMG could instead cut our taxes?”

“People speak of the soft power that providing aid gives the UK. It is a quaint but wrong notion.

“The £100 million given to India over three years will do nothing for India, will not be recognised and will not improve the UK’s standing one jot.

“Like so much of government expenditure, our foreign aid is being wasted.”

The £2.3 billion of aid spending between 2016 and 2021 consists of £441 million in bilateral aid, plus £1 billion of investments through BII, £129 million in FCDO investments, and £749 million through multilateral channels such as the World Bank, according to publicly avaiable figures.

Figures uncovered by the Taxpayers’ Alliance last year indicated Britain spent more than £112million in 2021 on foreign aid projects in India and Pakistan – where almost £12million went towards a scheme promoting various contraception methods.

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The figures highlighted the fact that large quantities of cash continue to flood out of the UK despite a reduction in the proportion of GDP spent on overseas aid from 0.7 percent to 0.5 percent – cutting the figure from £14.5billion in 2020 to £11.1billion last year.

In order to undertake its analysis, the TaxPayer’s Alliance (TPA) looked at the “schemes” section of a publicly available Government document entitled Government Grants Statistics 2020 to 2021.

This revealed that a total of £112,090,669.20 in taxpayers’ money was spent on 31 projects in India and Pakistan during that period.

The equivalent figure for the previous year was £130,104,588.05.

India’s GDP was expected to be almost £2.2trillion by the end of 2021 according to the Trading Economics website, representing 2.32 percent of the global economy.

In a statement outlining its success, the Indian Space Research Organization said in a statement said: “India’s pursuit of space exploration reaches a remarkable milestone with the impending Chandrayaan-3 Mission, poised to achieve a soft landing on the lunar surface.

“This achievement marks a significant step forward for Indian Science, Engineering, Technology, and Industry, symbolising our nation’s progress in space exploration.”

Professor Anu Ojha OBE, Championing Space Director at the UK Space Agency, said: “Congratulations to India on this amazing feat of engineering and perseverance.

“The successful landing of Chandrayaan-3 in the southern polar region of the moon is further evidence that we are living in a new space age, with space agencies and companies across the world setting their sights on the Moon and beyond.

“This current crop of missions are focused on new areas of opportunity – there are important scientific discoveries to be made about the presence of water on the lunar surface, which could support humans to live and work there for extended periods of time.

“The UK Space Agency is committed to supporting these international efforts and putting UK science and technology at the heart of some of the most exciting global exploration missions, for the benefit of our planet and its people.” has contacted the FDCO for comment.

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