Union Education Minister Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ today virtually addressed the students from ASEAN member states who have been selected for the prestigious ASEAN PhD Fellowship Programme (APFP) funded by the Government of India and congratulated them on their selection in the IITs, the country’s premiere technological institutions. MoS for Education Shri Sanjay Dhotre was Guest of Honour on the ocassion. Ambassadors and Representatives from ASEAN Member States; Secretary, Higher Education, Shri Amit Khare; Secretary (East), MEA, Ms Riva Ganguly Das; Director, IIT Delhi, Professor V Ramgopal Rao; ASEAN Coordinators from Respective IITs, Directors of the IITs and the selected students also graced the occasion.
While welcoming the ASEAN students Union Education Minister said that the academic and research ties among India and ASEAN member states will be mutually beneficial for both the regions. It will further strengthen our ties in culture, commerce and connectivity, he said. APFP will open many doors to synergies in the field of technology and research for the academicians, researchers and the scientists from India and ASEAN. The researches and inventions by them will be used for the betterment of humankind across the globe, he added.
The Minister further said that due to the current pandemic the world has slow down. The Minister expressed his happiness that IITs never stop and constantly creating new success stories amid this pandemic by assisting the country with their valuable researches and inventions. The students of the ASEAN member states have got the opportunity to study in the IITs, which are among the best global institutions. The Minister extended his best wishes to the students your research programmes. Ministry of Education will extend its support to ASEAN PhD Fellowship Programme Secretariat at IIT Delhi, formed exclusively for the ASEAN students.
The Minister highlighted that the ASEAN PhD Fellowship Programme was announced on 25th January 2018, the eve of India’s Republic Day, by Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi in the presence of leaders of all the ten ASEAN member states. He informed that under the APFP, 1000 fellowships will be provided exclusively to the ASEAN citizens. He further informed that APFP is also the largest capacity development programme undertaken by the Government of India for foreign beneficiaries.The ASEAN PhD fellows will be recognized as the alumni of the respective IITs from where they will be completing their PhDs, he added.
Shri Pokhriyal said that this program also symbolizes that India has always been nurturing and furthering the culture of ‘Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah’ along with the vision of ‘Atithi Devo Bhava and Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’. He said that we want to move forward by taking the world together. He added that with a global Mind Set and approach, we are committed to make as a Global Hub in the field of Education. APFP program as a positive step taken the direction of Internationalization of Education, he added.
While addressing the participants Shri Dhotre said that our relations with South East Asian countries are very old. The influence of our ancient epic Ramayana could be very well seen in the cultural landscape of ASEAN countries. The roots of our relationships have been further nurtured through the message of Lord Buddha. We share strong cultural and historical bond. He further said that this start of academic research journey for the students of ASEAN in India will strengthen our bonds further. With collaborative researches and innovations, it will be beneficial for all of us.
Shri Dhotre highlighted that while the world is still fighting COVID 19, our research institutions helped us develop low cost ventilators, testing kits, masks, etc to fight against CORONA. He wished all the fellows selected under this fellowship programme a very best for their future research and innovation under the guidance of best academicians and scientists of IIT.
Speaking on the occasion Shri Khare said that recently launched New Education Policy (NEP) -2020 will bring transformational change in the education system of India. NEP focusses on promoting research and innovation in higher education and internationalisation of education. This policy has given access to foreign universities to open campuses in India and vice-versa which will be instrumental in the process of making India a global knowledge power. Shri Khare informed that Scheme for Promotion of Academic and Research Collaboration (SPARC) initiative of the Ministry will encourage research collaboration of top ranked Indian Institutions and globally ranked Foreign Institutions. He further informed that National Research Foundation is a step which shall provide an extraordinary direction for expansion of research, technology development and technology led innovation, and a new fillip for fulfillment of the vision of New India. He extended his best wishes to the students.
H.E. Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia, Sidharto Reza Suryodipuro said, “This is an excellent initiative to fill void in education cooperation between India and ASEAN. It will be India’s contribution to the education and upskilling of ASEAN’s IT capacity, and to the closer collaboration between India and ASEAN and to our common digital transformation in IR 4.0.”
H.E. Ambassador of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar Moe Kyaw Aung said, “This ASEAN PhD Fellowship programme not only provides ASEAN participants space for pursuing higher education in India but also provides opportunity for promotion of education and cultural exchanges between India and ASEAN countries.”
H.E. Ambassador of Philippines Ramon S. Bagatsing, Jr. quoted their National Hero Dr. Jose P. Rizal that youth is the hope of our fatherland. He said providing quality education to the youth is a great way of strengthening that hope.
H.E. Ambassador of Vietnam, Pham Sanh Chau’s said, “Asean PhD Fellowship Program will stand as a powerful symbol of Indo-Asean intellectual solidarity as the Program helps to train a generation of Asean leading technological engineers in well-known Indian Institutes of Technology.”
Mr. Thirapath Mongkolnavin, Chargé d’Affaires, Royal Thai Embassy, said that “The ASEAN Phd fellowship programme caters extensively to realise the goal set within the socio-cultural pillar (ASEAN and India relations), that is the advancement of Human Resource development and people-to-people contacts.”
Commenting on the APFP, H.E. Simon Wong, High Commissioner, Singapore said, “By bringing talented young people from ASEAN and India closer together, the ASEAN PhD Fellowship Programme will strengthen the excellent ASEAN-India relationship, and ensure that our historical people-to-people ties continue to flourish. I thank the Indian Government for its generosity and congratulate all the ASEAN PhD Fellows on their achievement!”
Prof V. Ramgopal Rao, Director, IIT Delhi said that ASEAN PhD programme can be a game changer for the region. This will encourage the ASEAN students to learn in some of India’s finest institutions and learn from the best minds. This will also bring in the much needed cultural diversity in our academic institutions and is in line with India’s Look East policy. Will be a Win-Win for everyone involved, he added.