Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Aid-receiving India in some choppy waters

Northern Ireland households would soon notice if the ships that bring our imports of food, consumer goods and fuel failed to arrive at a UK port every day.

The world’s seas have a number of narrow choke-points, such as the Strait of Hormuz, and some are very close to rogue states and unstable governments.

The UK will be lucky if sea trade remains uninterrupted, given the manifold troubles in the Pacific Ocean, the Horn of Africa, the Gulf and the eastern Mediterranean. News that India is to buy three warships at a cost of £1bn brings sharply into focus that the UK gives £280m a year in aid to India.

As the Royal Navy has insufficient frigates to play its full part in safeguarding the world’s sea lanes, why not spend that money on a new frigate every year instead of giving it to India?

LESTER MAY

Lieutenant-Commander RN (retired)

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