Russia and India have agreed to establish a joint working group on education that will focus on building cooperation in VET, increasing bilateral student mobility, and to work towards mutual degree recognition. The announcement followed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Moscow in December, when the two countries pledged to strengthen cooperation in education, energy, security and defence.
Though the talks between Modi and President Putin focussed primarily on issues of security and foreign policy, they nevertheless highlighted education as an important area for collaboration.
The two governments “noted the immense potential for expanding student exchanges, cooperation in vocational training”
A joint statement released by the Russian Federation and the Republic of India following Modi’s visit said the two governments “noted the immense potential for expanding student exchanges, cooperation in vocational training and training of engineers, teachers and other specialists”.
The statement also outlined a number of ways in which the two countries could build research collaboration, particularly in STEM fields.
“The Sides noted positive developments in scientific and technological cooperation… [and] expressed confidence that they would facilitate further development of ties in the scientific and technological cooperation,” it read.
The two governments called for the establishment of two databases to support joint research: a database of scientific and educational institutions in the two countries and the projects these institutions are working on; and a catalogue of joint Russian-Indian science and technology initiatives.
Emphasising the importance of cooperation in research, Modi and Putin welcomed the Declaration on Association of Russian and Indian Universities signed in Moscow in May last year, whose aims include promoting student and faculty exchange, curriculum development, creation of joint laboratories and scientific research.
Tomsk State University and the Indian Institute of Technology in Mumbai will act as coordinators of these projects, serving as a ‘Russia-India Resource Centre’, the statement said.
“The Sides expressed confidence that they would facilitate further development of ties in the scientific and technological cooperation”
Meanwhile, an agreement between the Russian Science Foundation and the Department of Science and Technology of the Republic of India (also signed in May) to provide grants for transnational research teams “will impart a further fillip to science and technology collaboration”, it added.
India and Russia also agreed to work towards finalising agreements on the mutual recognition of academic degrees – reiterating a goal that was set at last year’s summit.
Further details of the working group have yet to be released.
During the visit, both leaders stressed the importance of the relationship between India and Russia and pledged to enhance trade between the two countries, which amounted to $9.51bn in 2014 and aims to reach $30bn by 2025.
“The Sides reaffirmed the unique character of Russia-India relations, based on time-tested and deep mutual trust and friendship between the two nations,” the statement read.
Following the visit, Modi described Russia as “India’s unwavering friend”.
“As I look to the future, I see Russia as a significant partner in India’s economic transformation and in shaping a balanced, stable, inclusive and a multi-polar world,” he said.