Curb on India-China varsity tie-ups shows MHA is insecure, say academicians

Updated: Oct 04, 2019, 07:48 IST | Pallavi Smart | Mumbai

Academicians question government move to make MHA, MEA nod for collaboration with Chinese universities mandatory

Representation pic
Representation pic

The Centre's directive to seek its permission for academic collaboration with Chinese universities has raised many eyebrows, with some saying that the move shows the Centre is insecure. The University Grants Commission (UGC) sent a letter to all the universities earlier this week, asking them to get prior approval of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) before signing any Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with their Chinese counterparts.

The restrictions also apply to the existing MoUs. "Prior nod of the MEA and the MHA must be taken by all the academic institutions/universities before signing off MoUs, educational exchange programs, agreements and joint declarations of intent... Universities, including private institutions that have already signed a deal with Chinese universities, must seek clearance from MHA for operating the MoU," the UGC letter said.

Parimal Sudhakar, head of the MIT School of Government in Pune, said, "This comes across as unnecessary fear of China's domination. If we restrict academic collaborations, other countries would take advantage of it. Basically this is a sign of insecurity and fear on the part of MHA which looks suspiciously at everything, which hardly works in academics. There are collaborations with Chinese academicians in fields of bi-technology and other fields of science. They all would be nervous by such action."

A senior Mumbai University official questioned the motive behind the directive, saying the academic tie-ups always happened after proper procedure, which was monitored by the Ministry of Human Resource and Development. Mrudul Nile from Department of Politics at the MU, however, sees the move just as a precaution. "There definitely have been trust issues between two countries. Considering the current with China and Pakistan, the government probably wants to stay safe."

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