Indian students in UK surpass all nations, including China: British High Commissioner

Sonipat, May 10 (IANS) Indian students in the UK surpass all countries, including China, said Alex Ellis, the British High Commissioner to India, at a Distinguished Public Lecture on India-UK Relations at O.P. Jindal Global University.
“The degree of human connection between our two countries is extraordinary, yet there is potential to take the India-UK relationship to a deeper and profound level,” he said.
This was a unique and prestigious occasion when the High Commissioner of the UK visited JGU for the first time and addressed students of international affairs, law and other disciplines, giving them a diplomatic and strategic overview of the relationship between the world’s two important democracies.
“India and the UK connect on a human level. We are the fifth and sixth biggest economies in the world, India will grow to be the third in the world by 2030. We are trying to negotiate a free trade agreement and it’s quite important that we look at the economic value it gives but also the strategic value. Together, as nations we will try to deal with some of the biggest problems the world faces, especially climate change! We have already demonstrated how well we have cooperated in the research and production of Covishield vaccine during the pandemic. It was funded by research in Britain’s second best university and then developed and manufactured in India and that’s been a great milestone. But India will be one of the country’s most affected by climate change in the world and we will face it in our lifetimes.”
The High Commissioner then gave an overview of geopolitical strategic imperatives which will influence the India-UK relationship.
“Trade and investment, security in the region and the Indo-Pacific areas will also drive the discussion on cooperation. But it is the human level that is more important. I’d like to get more British people coming to India to understand the reality of India.”
He also touched on and the shared history between India and the UK and opined that India was one country where as a diplomat he had to take special care of historical sensitivities but he also looked at contemporary outcomes.
In his wide ranging lecture, the High Commissioner also dealt on the subject of geography, culture, language, food, cricket and showing respect for the country you live in.
Professor Dr. C. Raj Kumar, Founding Vice Chancellor, O.P. Jindal Global University welcomed the High Commissioner to JGU and said: “One of the remarkable aspects of the India UK relationship is the extraordinary evolution of the relationship especially when we had to deal with over 200 years of colonial history. It speaks volumes about the extraordinary vision and the sagacity of the people who led the freedom movement that India remained a part of the Commonwealth. Among the post-colonial relationships of the world, the India-UK relationship is one of the most defining relationships of the last 35 years. Education plays a very significant role as this relationship transcends the usual boundaries of strategy, security, trade, investment and more. We, in universities who are looking at this relationship very differently, strongly believe in the intellectual presence of British universities in the Indian imagination and aspiration for a large number of young Indians to be able to seek high quality education both in India and around the world. One of the aspects of this relationship that requires even greater impetus is the need for having a stronger presence of British students at Indian universities, while the inward mobility of Indian students into UK has been quite significant.”
Professor (Dr.) Sreeram Chaulia Dean, Jindal School of International Affairs gave an overview of the India-UK relationship and said: “There is a lot of potential for India and the UK to jointly do work in third countries, so that we can really realize the full benefits of our strategic partnership. There was a time, especially during the Cold War period, when we didn’t want a western influence in our backyard. Now the scenario has changed. Some of it is linked to China’s rise, but much of it also leads to new economic opportunities that beckon in this region for European countries. In the future, we’re going to see bigger partnerships, not just the free trade agreement, but also more on defence more on joint triangular cooperation in third countries.”
Professor (Dr.) Mohan Kumar Dean & Director, Jindal Global Centre for G20 Studies welcomed Ellis to India and emphasized the need of understanding local culture and languages but he also added that the Centre for G20 Studies would look forward to the High Commissioner’s input even after India’s Presidency of G20 is over next year.

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