Britain is likely to cut its £1 billion aid bill to India as it moves towards a new trading relationship with the Asian country, the Development Secretary has said.
Justine Greening, who took on the post of Development Secretary last month, said she wants to see Britains's links to richer developing nations become about business, rather than hand-outs.
The Minister is under pressure to get better value for money from Britain's £12 billion per year spending on countries including China and India, which has its own space programme.
Speaking at the Tory Party conference in Birmingham, Ms Greening signalled India will be a target for cuts.
"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," she said.
"Those are the discussions that I am having with the Indian government at the moment."
Ms 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 said. "That may well mean stopping programmes where I don't think they are working and putting the money elsewhere."
David Cameron has come under fire for promising to keep spending 0.7 per cent of GDP on foreign aid during the recession. There is growing unrest among backbnechers in the party and Lord Ashcroft, a major donor and Number 10 adviser, recently called for the "golden taps to be turned off".
Ms Greening said she is planning to take a more ruthless look at cost control but said it was "smart" for Britain to spend money on aid to help international security,
"I believe in development," she said. "It is in all our interests for countries around the world to be stable and secure, to have educated and healthy populations, and to have growing economies.She also promised to make sure the European Union spends its money more wisely."I don't think it's right that the EU still gives money to those countries higher up the income scale, when we've taken the decision to target the poorest," she said.
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