India expects a "substantial increase" in the number of students from Saudi Arabia with its latest move to allow international educational institutions to operate from the country, a senior Indian diplomat in Saudi Arabia has said.
"We are hopeful of a dramatic increase in the number of Saudi students pursuing studies in India," Indian Consul
General Sayeed Ahmed Baba said.
India has already carved a niche for itself in the field of education with some of its own colleges and universities, as well as professional institutions figuring among the world's best, he said.
"The move to allow overseas educational universities and institutions, including some of the prestigious ones, will only help many more Saudi and other foreign students to studyin India," Baba said.
Some of them who have been heading to the US, Europe, Australia and the Far East will now consider India an ideal educational destination.
As many as 25,000 Saudi students are in the US and 10,000 more will be heading to universities there this year.
Some of these and other students in Australia are tied to scholarship programmes.
The consul general said that the Indian diplomatic mission in the Kingdom has been "liberal" in issuing visas to Saudi students, businessmen, and leisure and medical tourists.
"We issue visas (to these categories) within a day," he said.
Baba said the bilateral trade was continuously increasing in the past three years and stood around $20 billion in 2008-09, with Indian exports to the Kingdom exceeding $5 billion, a 37.70 per cent jump.