India and the US will hold their first-ever higher education summit next year, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and US President Barack Obama announced at a joint press conference here on Monday.
HT reported on November 5 on the summit proposal that the two countries had been discussing as a takeaway of the Obama visit. The summit would witness top leaders of India and the US identify areas of cooperation and concerns for further strengthening of the relations in the sector.
Singh said: “No two other countries are better equipped to be partners in building the knowledge economy of the future.” Close to 100,000 Indian students are enrolled in higher educational institutions and research laboratories in the US.
Obama said the summit and the 21st Century Knowledge Initiative that was announced last November during Singh’s US visit were key indicators of the strengthening of the India-US ties in the education sector.
The summit, likely to be held in India, will be unique since independent lobby groups and institutions alone have so far held bilateral conferences on education, with official representatives as speakers at best.
The summit proposal that came from the US is likely to involve HRD minister Kapil Sibal and US secretary of state Hillary Clinton.
Sibal was part of the delegation-level talks between India and the US on Monday where the proposal was finalised.
The presence of presidents of several US universities in Obama’s delegation has been interpreted as an indicator of the role the education sector would play in the India-US partnership initiative.
Presidents of the universities of Pennsylvania, Stanford and Cornell and representatives of universities of Boston, Arizona and Rutgers are members of the Obama delegation.