16-Jul-2018
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UK seeking agreement with India on mutual recognition of degrees

LONDON April 14: With 14,000 Indian students pursuing advanced masters’ degrees in the UK, London wants to get an agreement of mutual recognition of qualifications with India much like the pact signed recently between France and India.
 
That is unusual in itself, given that Indians generally value British educational degrees.
 
But with Prime Minister Narendra Modi travelling to the UK for a bilateral summit and CHOGM meet next week, UK high commissioner to India, Dominic Asquith said such a pact would be important for Indian students. 
 
India does not recognise a one-year masters degree which is given by all British universities, since India has a two-year degree. This, Asquith said, made it difficult for Indian students to pursue a doctorate in India after a Masters in the UK.
 
“We would be delighted if we could replicate it,” he said referring to the recent India-France agreement. “Discussions are under way, we would like them to be concluded soon.
 
” There has been a 27 per cent increase in Indian students to the UK, he said, and Indians get the biggest chunk of work visas issued by the British government.
 
The bilateral summit, Asquith said, would stress on the “technology partnership”, which was started a while ago. This includes British companies “creating in India” — “we’re looking at collaborative ventures in design, building, technology etc”.
 
India-UK trade, he said, had risen by 15 per cent in the past year; Indian issuers had raised 5.3 billion pounds in the London Stock Exchange and India is the fourth largest investor in the UK. A significant outcome of the summit is likely to be focused on data protection and cybersecurity.
 
The difficult conversation will be on Russia’s involvement in the poisoning of Sergei Skripal, a Russian double agent in Salisbury, which triggered a huge exodus of Russian diplomats from different western countries.
 
“Russia will have to answer some difficult questions. They have so far only deflected them and tried to obstruct investigations,” Asquith said, referring to the administration of the nerve agent novichok on Skripal and his daughter.
 
However, India will find it hard to condemn Russian actions with the UK, given India’s traditional ties with Moscow.