UK ministers to undertake multi-city visit of India to promote education and skills

New Delhi: Two British ministers -- Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, and Jo Johnson, Minister of State for Universities and Science will visit India from December 9 to 11.

According to a British High Commission release, they will visit New Delhi, Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Mumbai to meet Indian students and faculty, and ministers in the central and state Governments to build on the success of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the UK last month, specifically in the fields of higher education, skills and research co-operation.

The release further states that Mr. Modi's historic visit to the UK saw the two countries set high ambitions for their bilateral partnership.

Building on Prime Minister Modi's statement that the UK remains a 'preferred destination for Indian students,' the Secretary of State and Minister will showcase the UK's higher education, research, science, innovation and technology capabilities that can help India's growth story and the Indian Government's 'Skill India' agenda.

Sajid Javid said, 'Prime Minister Modi's visit to the UK electrified the UK/India relationship, setting new, more ambitious goals for our shared future. This includes the UK helping India meet its ever-growing need for skills, education and research, for which the UK is perfectly placed.'

'A British education is a quality-mark and a passport to global success, with four of the world's top-ten universities in the UK. Many Indian Prime Ministers, scientists, economists and business leaders who played a pivotal role in shaping modern India benefited from studying in the UK. I want to see India's future leaders in all fields take advantage of what the UK has to offer, which is why I'm coming to India so soon after Mr. Modi's visit. '

Both Ministers will begin the visit in New Delhi where Javid will launch the Midlands Engine initiative in India, marked by an alumni event in partnership the Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI). The event will promote the UK's Midlands region as a hub for innovation and manufacturing, highlighting how British and Indian technology and brainpower can work together with companies like Jaguar Land Rover, and alumni from top British universities from the region to fuel growth in both countries.

British Indian businesses leader and Chancellor of Birmingham University, Lord Karan Billimoria, as well as Vice Chancellors from Universities of Birmingham, Leicester and Warwick will participate in the discussions.

Mr. Javid and the Indian Minister for Human Resources, Ms. Smriti Irani, will announce the 2016 UK-India year of Education, Research and Innovation, which was agreed to during PM Modi's visit to the UK last month.

He will also call on Indian Finance Mr. Arun Jaitley, Minister for Human Resource Development, Ms Smriti Irani, and Minister for Commerce, Ms Nirmala Sithraman.

In New Delhi, Mr Johnson together with the Indian Minister for Science and Technology, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, will launch the UK's partnership of the 2016 Technology Summit and KnowledgExpo.

British and Indian business leaders and senior academics including Dame Nancy Rothwell the Vice Chancellor of Manchester University and Professor Colin Riordan, Vice Chancellor of Cardiff University will participate in discussions. Mr Johnson will announce an extension of the UK's Newton Fund Fund until 2021 as well as new research partnerships under the Newton-Bhabha Fund, and celebrate the joint investment in UK-India research, which has grown from less than a million pounds in 2008 to over 200 million pounds today.

Both ministers will meet students at the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi along with notable IIT alumni who have benefited from a higher education in the UK. The ministers will promote the range of programmes that IIT Delhi has been involved in with the UK as a part of UK India Education and Research Initiative (UKIERI).

In Hyderabad, Javid will talk to students at the Hyderabad Public School (HPS) about higher education opportunities in the UK. The UK has been a preferred higher education destination for students from Hyderabad and one of the school's esteemed alumni is Lord Karan Bilimoria. Javid will also meet students and faculty at the Indian School of Business (ISB) and visit the newly-established T-HuB at IIIT, India's largest incubator for start-ups, where he will discuss the UK's leadership in the field of innovation and chalk out areas of collaboration between young innovators from both countries. Whilst at T-Hub, Javid will meet the Telengana IT Minister, Mr. K.Taraka Rama Rao]

On the same day, Mr Johnson travels to Bengaluru. He will visit Stonehill International School to meet students and staff, and will have lunch with the Karnataka State Education Minister.

Mr Johnson will attend a research and innovation showcase event by Research Councils UK (RCUK) at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, and announce a series of new joint research programmes that will boost the long-established cooperation between the UK and India in science and research.

The minister will announce a new partnership between UK's Open University and Manipal education group that will support the development of innovative programmes, focused on equipping students with the skills they need to succeed in the workplace. The minister will also announce a new partnership between British Council Generation UK-India programme, Christ University and Jain University for hosting UK students at their campus in Bangalore.

Johnson said, 'Education, research and development, science and innovation are pillars upon which the future UK-India partnership will rest. Our Prime Minister has called 'team UK and team India a winning combination' and has offered to support Prime Minister Modi achieve his goal of preparing millions of young Indians for the 21st Century.'

Both ministers will spend their final day in India in Mumbai addressing and interacting with students from the Jamnabai Narsi School and the Cathedral School.

The ministers will be accompanied by Vice Chancellors and senior faculty from leading British universities and further education institutions, who will meet students and faculties across India to explore education and research opportunities.

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