Russian President Dmitry Medvedev will visit the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay during his trip next week, as Russia looks to reinforce traditional educational ties at a time when the world is eyeing India's fast-growing education market.
IIT Bombay was set up in 1958 with financial and technical assistance from the Soviet Union and UNESCO, and Medvedev specifically wanted to visit the Institute during his India trip, sources privy to development said. Top USSR professors, researchers, and universities helped hand-hold IIT Bombay in its initial days.
The Russians appear keen to reinforce the traditionally strong educational ties between them and India, the sources said, pointing out: "Half a century back, we depended on assistance from Russia and other foreign countries to start our top higher educational institutions like the IITs. Today, Russia and the rest of the world are competing for India's education market," a diplomatic source said.
India and Russia mutually recognise each other's degrees in science and engineering subjects and the two countries are engaged in extending the mutual recognition of degrees to medicine and related subjects, sources said.
Russian is also taught as an optional language subject in Central Board of Secondary Education schools. "We are still building our relationship in education with several other countries, but our ties with Russia are old and strong already," a source said.
The Russians, however, are concerned about India's increasing proximity to the US and Europe in educational and research ties, other sources said. The visit to IIT Bombay is symbolic, and the Russians possibly hope to emphasise how they stood by India at a time when this country was still emerging out of two centuries of Colonial rule, and was struggling to establish its institutions, sources said.