Trade announcement puts education at the heart of UK India cooperation

05 May 2021
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Posted by Study Group

Trade announcement puts education at the heart of UK India cooperation

Higher Education and research are key planks in an enhanced trade partnership announced today by the UK and India, expected to pave the way for a future UK-India free trade agreement.

British Prime-Minister Boris Johnson met Prime-Minister Narendra Modi virtually, after the UK prime-minister was forced to cancel his planned visit to Delhi, announcing a plan to double trade links by 2030. The announcement from the UK government includes “a commitment to deepening co-operation in educational and concluding work on recognition of UK higher education qualifications, which will encourage an increase in student flows, skills transfer and knowledge sharing between the UK and India.”

According to James Pitman, UK Managing Director of global education provider Study Group and a member of the British Council advisory group on education:

“This announcement reflects a very welcome development in international education policy here in the UK. As Prime-Minister, Boris Johnson has personally demonstrated his commitment to international education and to opportunities for Indian students through his announcement of the reintroduction of post-study work visas.

“This has been followed by further measures and policies to welcome and support international students, who are warmly welcomed in the UK's excellent universities and vibrant international communities of teaching and research.

"Despite the many challenges of COVID-19 for the UK and for India, this determination has not wavered and it is great to see the UK and India continuing to build strong bonds of trade cooperation with an investment in education at its core.”

The announcement also coincided with data published by the UK Social Market Foundation, which noted that over 90% of UK citizens recognised international students as an important area of global trade for the UK, a statistic which confirms previous surveys showing that UK communities welcome international students.

Prime-Minister Boris Johnson has also announced a £1 billion of trade between the UK and India as the UK focuses on building closer ties with India. The UK government says the package contains more than £533m of new investment, and includes a £240 million investment by the Serum Institute of India, supporting clinical trials, research and possibly the manufacturing of vaccines.

The full UK government announcement is available here.

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