External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar emphasises historical significance of Nalanda University as a global bridge of learning
Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the new campus of Nalanda University in Rajgir, Bihar on Wednesday (June 19, 2024), marking a significant milestone in the revival of one of the world's oldest centres of learning. 
The inauguration ceremony witnessed the presence of several dignitaries, including External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, Bihar Governor Rajendra Vishwanath Arlekar, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, and Nalanda University Chancellor Arvind Panagariya. Foreign envoys from 17 countries also attended the event, underscoring the international importance of this historic institution.
Prime Minister's Vision for Nalanda University
In his address, Prime Minister Modi expressed his pride and honour in inaugurating the new campus within 10 days of being sworn in for his third term. He emphasised that Nalanda is not just a name but an identity, a respect, a value, and a mantra. "Nalanda is the proclamation of the truth that knowledge cannot be destroyed even though books may burn," he stated, highlighting the resilience and enduring legacy of the ancient university.
The Prime Minister underscored the significance of the new campus in rekindling India's ties with its glorious past. He noted that the establishment of the new Nalanda University would initiate a golden age for India, showcasing the nation's capabilities to the world. "Nalanda carries the heritage of the world, Asia, and many countries. Its revival is not just the revival of Indian aspects but a global cultural renaissance," he added.
PM Modi also praised the contributions of friendly nations in the reconstruction of the university, reflecting the spirit of "Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam" – the world is one family. He highlighted that students from over 20 countries are already studying at Nalanda, exemplifying the university's role as a centre of global cultural exchange.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar's Remarks
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, in his speech, emphasized the historical significance of Nalanda University as a global bridge of learning. He noted that the university played a crucial role in connecting India with neighbouring societies through land and sea, fostering exchanges that enriched the entire continent. The destruction of the ancient university marked a downturn in India's history, but its revival symbolizes a resurgence of India's academic and cultural heritage.
EAM Jaishankar highlighted the university's efforts in promoting international understanding through education, training, and capacity building, particularly towards the Global South. He expressed satisfaction with Nalanda University's work in creating an ASEAN-India University Network and its commitment to building relationships even stronger than in the past.
India-ASEAN Collaboration and the New Campus
Nalanda University is conceived as a collaboration between India and East Asia Summit (EAS) countries, reflecting India's Act East policy and its commitment to regional cooperation. The university aims to revive civilizational linkages and celebrate shared cultural heritage while fostering a deeper appreciation of the diversity of human existence.
The new campus, built at a cost of Rs 1,700 crore, is a testament to this collaborative spirit. It features state-of-the-art facilities, including two academic blocks with 40 classrooms and a total seating capacity of 1,900, two auditoriums with a seating capacity of 300 each, and a student hostel accommodating 550 students. Additionally, the campus boasts an international centre, an amphitheatre with a capacity of 2,000 individuals, a faculty club, and a sports complex.
A standout feature of the new campus is its commitment to sustainability. It is designed as a 'Net Zero' Green Campus, equipped with a solar plant, domestic and drinking water treatment plants, a water recycling plant, and 100 acres of water bodies, among other environment-friendly facilities. This aligns with India's tradition of progress and environmental sustainability, as highlighted by PM Modi during his speech.
Prime Minister Modi emphasised that the development of education leads to the deepening of economic and cultural roots. He outlined his mission for India to become the world's centre of education and knowledge, with initiatives like Atal Tinkering Labs, Startup India, and significant investments in research and innovation driving this vision forward.
He highlighted the government's efforts to create a comprehensive and advanced research-oriented higher education system, noting the improved performances of Indian universities in global rankings. The Prime Minister also mentioned the establishment of numerous educational institutions, including IITs, IIMs, and AIIMS, over the past decade.
The Prime Minister's vision extends to international collaborations, with Indian and foreign universities opening new campuses in India, providing Indian students with world-class educational opportunities. He expressed hope that Nalanda University would follow this trend, becoming an important centre for global causes and leading the world in education and knowledge.
The inauguration of the new campus of Nalanda University marks a significant step in India's journey towards reviving its academic heritage and strengthening global collaborations. With its rich history, state-of-the-art facilities, and commitment to sustainability, Nalanda University is poised to become a beacon of knowledge and cultural exchange, embodying the spirit of 'Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam' and contributing to the global cause of education and understanding.