'We Don't Need The Peanuts You Offer In Aid': Indian minister's Staggering Attack On 280million-A-Year Donations By Britain

MINISTERS today defended giving 1.2BILLION aid to India - after a top Indian minister dismissed the cash as "PEANUTS." Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee bragged that his country does not need our money. He declared: "It is a peanut in our total development exercises." Leaked documents reveal Indian ministers considered axing the handouts altogether last year. But sources claim British officials PLEADED with them to carry on taking the money. They argued it would be a "grave political embarrassment" for the Coalition if India turned the money down. The revelations come days after India picked a French firm for a 13billion deal to supply 126 fighter jets. French-based Dassault beat off competition from Eurofighter, which is partly built in the UK by BAE Systems. The decision was a massive blow to David Cameron, who led a high-profile trade mission to India last year. It was also a setback for International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell. He had claimed our foreign aid to India would help Eurofighter win the bid. Today Mr Mitchell defended giving hundreds of millions of pounds to India - a country with more billionaires than the UK. "India itself has got 60 million children into school in recent years with their own money but more than 30 per cent of the world's poorest people live there," he said. "There are states the size of Britain where half of all children suffer from malnutrition. We will not be in India for ever but now is not the time to quit." His officials stressed that Mr Mukherjee's "peanuts" comments were made in 2010.