Chennai, Oct 16: As part of attracting more Indian students to universities in the United Kingdom in the backdrop of falling numbers, the British government would add 400 more students under its scholarship programme, a cabinet Minister said.
"You know that there are a large number of Indian students going to the UK. But numbers have been falling in the last 2-3 years. We think there is a perception problem that they are not welcome in the UK. I have been trying to dismiss that. They are very much welcome in the UK," Dr Vince Cable, who is on a visit to India, told reporters.
To change that perception, one of the recent changes that the government made was to increase the number of scholarships awarded to Indian students.
"In order to help change the perceptions, one of the things we have been announcing in India, which is a big step forward, is the number of scholarships. In addition to (the existing) scholarship programme there will be 400 more next year and the year after," he said.
Besides attracting Indian students, the UK government also planned to increase the number of British students visiting India to 25,000 over the next five years. [UK govt announces scholarships worth 15 crore for Indian students]
"At the moment, it is Indian students going to Britain. We are now trying to encourage British students to come to India. We are looking to have at least 25,000 (British students visiting) in India in the next five years. Lot of demand for it in the UK and I think it is good to have reciprocal relationships." he said.
On trade relations between the two countries, Dr Vince On trade relations between the two countries, Dr Vince Cable said the UK is in the process of developing "linkages with the auto-industry here in India, in both directions". "We do have UK companies here, several of them, who will be talking to car manufacturers in Chennai and (delegation) has already been to Pune to learn about Indian supply chain management," he said.
Observing that there are substantial tie-ups between British Universities and institutions in Tamil Nadu, he said that several delegations are here from Universities and are looking at collaborations in education and training. British Deputy High Commissioner Bharat Joshi said one of the best examples of how close the relationship between the two countries was the fact that "about 150 million pounds of research has been happening between India and the UK." [Are foreign graduates more employable than Indian graduates?]
About 40,000 Indian students study in Britain, comprising 10 per cent of the total of four lakh overseas students there studying there. Dr Cable, along with a host of delegates, will later visit heavy commercial vehicle manufacturer Ashok Leyland's manufacturing plant at nearby Ennore. He would also meet Chief Minister O Panneerselvam and senior government officials at the Secretariat, besides academicians at Anna University.