Higher Education and research are key to an enhanced trade partnership between the U.K. and India and is expected to pave the way for a future UK-India free trade agreement. This emerged after the British Prime-Minister Boris Johnson met Prime-Minister Narendra Modi virtually on May 4, after the U.K. prime-minister was forced to cancel his planned visit to Delhi in the last week of April, announcing a plan to double trade links by 2030.
The announcement from the U.K. 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.”
The full government announcement is here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/prime-minister-announces-1-billion-of-new-uk-india-trade Further development of U.K. Indian cooperation is expected when the G7 meet in the U.K. in June and precedes negotiations on a formal free-trade agreement, with talks expected to start in the autumn.
According to James Pitman, U.K. Managing Director of global education provider Study Group and a member of the British Council advisory group on education said, “This announcement reflects a very welcome development in international education policy here in the U.K. 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 U.K.‘s excellent universities and vibrant international communities of teaching and research. Despite the many challenges of Covid-19 for the U.K. and for India, this determination has not wavered and it is great to see the U.K. 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 U.K. Social Market Foundation which noted that over 90% of U.K. citizens recognised Indian students as an important area of global trade for the U.K., a statistic which confirms previous surveys which show that U.K. communities welcome international students.