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India likely to raise post-study stay issue during UK PM visit

India likely to raise post-study stay issue during UK PM visit
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India is likely to raise its concerns over problems being faced by Indian students in the UK due to visa curbs during British Prime Minister Teresa May’s three-day visit here beginning November 6 – her first trip outside Europe after assuming office in July.

In their talks, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and May are expected to deliberate on impact of Brexit on the bilateral ties and ways to boost trade and investment, besides expanding cooperation in some other key areas.

“We expect mobility issues to be raised during the visit,” said External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup when asked whether the issue of Indian students will be taken up during the talks.

“Yes, it is true that in the last 5 years or so, the number of Indian students enrolling in UK universities have gone down by almost 50 per cent; from around 40,000 to about 20,000 now. This has happened because of restrictions on post-study stay in the UK,” he said.

He said Indian students and people-to-people relations are important pillars of India-UK ties and that India has raised its concerns already with UK on the difficulties being faced by its students there. Asked about Congress’s Shashi Tharoor suggestion that Britain’s prime minister should seek an apology for the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, the MEA Spokesperson did not respond.

Both Modi and May are likely to deliberate on boosting trade ties considering the huge potential. The volume of bilateral trade in goods was USD 14 billion in 2015-16 and India is the third largest investor in UK. UK also happens to the third largest investor in India and the leading investor among the G-20 countries.

May along with Modi will inaugurate the India-UK Tech Summit on November 7 here. The decision to hold the Tech Summit was taken during Modi’s visit to UK in November 2015. 

At the Summit, government officials, business leaders and scientists will engage together to explore ways to enhance cooperation in science and technology sector and how collaboration could open up new opportunities for trade and investment.

A slew of new initiatives on deepening bilateral science and technology collaboration will be announced at the Summit under which four summits – Higher Education Summit, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Summit, Design Summit and Intellectual Property Rights Summit – are being hosted. 

A meeting of the Joint Economic and Trade Committee chaired by MOS for Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman and UK Secretary of State for International Trade Liam Fox will be held during the visit. A meeting of India-UK CEOs Forum will also be held. 
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