More than 50000 students from 164 countries are currently studying in Indian universities in various programmes, Shringla said.

Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla on Friday termed India’s National Education Policy as the very raison d'être to catapult the country into the category of global study destination.

“It (National Education Policy) aims to contribute to national efforts towards the realization of the Prime Minister’s vision of restoring India in the mode of Vishwa-Guru or the world leader,” the Foreign Secretary said in his remarks at the Diplomatic Conclave on Higher Education Organized by Chandigarh University.

He said the National Educational Policy aims to encourage international universities to set up campuses in India, which can be a win-win for both students and the sector at large.

“There will be greater avenues for international universities to explore partnerships with Indian universities to set up teaching, learning and research programmes through micro hubs at Indian university campuses, instead of needing to build a full-fledged campus,” he said.

He said over 50000 students from 164 countries are currently studying in Indian universities in various programmes.

“We expect this number to increase in the years to come. In this regard, India has entered into Educational Exchange Programmes and Memorandums of Understanding with more than 50 countries across Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America. These include arrangements with the US, UK and Australia,” the Foreign Secretary said.

He said the Educational Exchange Programmes and MOUs envisage cooperation through several initiatives like:i. Exchange of scholars, students and researchers; ii. Sharing of information/publications; iii. Organizing joint seminars, workshops, conferences etc.; iv. Working towards mutual recognition of qualifications; v. Developing institutional linkages.

India also has educational cooperation networks with different international organizations and multilateral/ plurilateral bodies like the UNESCO, BRICS, SAARC, India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA), East Asia Summit, ASEAN, Indian Ocean Rim Association, OECD and the European Union, he informed.

The Foreign Secretary maintained that the Ministry of External Affairs is an important facilitator and source of support for international students, including by way of administering a significant scholarship programme.

“Overseas, our Embassies and Consulates provide a familiar face, a helping hand and a listening ear to Indian students in far-off countries who may occasionally encounter issues and challenges, or may simply be missing home,” Foreign Secretary Shringla maintained.

This two-way process and exchange of young students, scholars, academics and talent will continue and in fact intensify in the years ahead. It is entirely welcome because the free flow of knowledge, and of knowledge seekers and producers, is fundamental to international understanding and to a globalised economy, he noted.

The technologies of the coming days – robotics, 4D printing, bioengineering, materials sciences, specialised medicine, digital innovations and their integration into society and its regulatory frameworks – will lead to an even greater and even busier flow of students and of minds, the Foreign Secretary added.

Inevitably, countries will welcome partnerships and student collaborations with societies and countries they trust, and individuals and systems that share knowledge rather than hoard it. And with partners that contribute to global society, rather than see academic research as a zero-sum game, with transactional motivations and scope for weaponization.

“Here, the world’s experience with Indian talent, institutions and partners has been positive. From Indian students who have helped contribute to the tech ecosystem in Silicon Valley to Indian universities and teachers who have educated generations of public leaders across the continent of Africa, the examples are there for all to see. They are both numerous and noteworthy,” he added.