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UK keen to welcome Indian students to its shore

After a significant decline in the number of Indian students studying in UK, the country is now looking to welcome Indian students with various programmes. It is also focusing to strengthen business ties with India.

“We are taking measures to encourage more Indian students to come to the UK. In recent years there has been a significant decline in the number of Indian students due to a wrong perception that Indian students were not welcome in the UK anymore. This is a serious concern for us. There is huge demand from UK employers for the high level skills Indian graduates can offer, and students that gain graduate-level employment can stay here after completing their studies,” said Vince Cable, Britain’s secretary of state for business, innovation and skills,” said Vince Cable, Britain’s secretary of state for business, innovation and skills.

Cable said that there are up to 700 scholarships being offered to Indian students in the UK along with 500 GREAT awards for undergraduates and post graduate courses ranging from engineering, law and business. “International students are worth around $ 3 billion a year to UK universities and bring skills critical to the British economy”, he added.

At present, there are 25,000 Indian students studying in the UK. The number of students preferring UK as a education destination has dropped drastically as the country tightened its visa norms. The number of students in UK in 2012 was as high as 40,000.

Cable is on his five day visit to India from Friday and is set to visit Delhi, Goa, Pune and Chennai.

The number of Indian first year students in 2012-13 dropped by 25% to 22,385 from the year before according to Government figures published in January.

Commenting on trade and business, Cable said, “UK trade with India is growing. We have boosted trade from $ 11 billion in 2009 to $ 16.4 billion in 2013, despite economic slowdown in both countries over this period. Our plan is to double bi-lateral trade in the next five years. UK companies invest heavily in India.” He further added that the UK is the largest G20 investor in India and invested $ 3.2 billion last year which is more than Japan and the US.

India too has been investing in UK. Tata is the largest employer in UK manufacturing with 45,000 staff. Firms like Amtek Auto has invested in a new foundry in Kidderminster to meet the growing need for automotive parts from Jaguar Land Rover and Ford, and grow their manufacturing presence beyond existing UK facilities in Coventry and Essex. The initial investment of $ 23 million will lead to 500 new jobs by 2018.

Similarly, British dental company, Prima Dental, is investing $ 10 million in India to establish a sales and distribution arm in the north of the country. Prima Asia will supply burs to the dental profession across India and the subcontinent. UK Tech company, Blippar, is launching India Blippar. They are a leading player in augmented reality, enabling consumers to bring to life images and products via smartphones and wearables and are opening their first Asia office in Delhi.

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