Education

Deputy First Minister John Swinney reflects on his week in India

December 3, 2018 by No Comments | Category Schools, Universities

I have just completed my second visit to India, and have been struck once again by the warmth of the welcome, and by the size of the opportunity for our two nations to collaborate.

While there, I saw a great deal of existing cooperation – in business, education, culture, social enterprise and water to name a few – which this visit will certainly build on.

I enjoyed a productive meeting with Mr Suresh Prabhu, the Minister of Commerce and Industry, where we discussed how collaboration between Scotland and India can benefit both countries’ future prosperity.

Attracting investment

In partnership with Biocon, the National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) and the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA), I had the privilege of presiding over ‘thought leadership’ roundtable events aimed at understanding Indian companies’ Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) ambitions and scope for collaboration with Scotland – with lots of trade and investment opportunities to follow up on.

Members of tech companies with Deputy First Minister John Swinney at a tech innovation roundtable

Members of tech companies with Deputy First Minister John Swinney at a tech innovation roundtable

I discussed investment plans with top Indian investors in Scotland including Genpact, Wipro, Hinduja Global Solutions and OYO hotels, along with other potential FDI prospects.

World experts

My focus for much of the trip was on the twin themes of data driven innovation and life sciences. I was delighted to be joined by world experts in these fields from six of Scotland’s universities, as well as engaging with senior alumni from our Scottish universities.

A series of events I undertook brought the Scottish universities together with their Indian counterparts to discuss collaboration between our universities and Indian companies. One exciting example is Pure Li-fi, a spin out from Edinburgh University, which is pioneering technology that uses light to transfer data in partnership with Wipro Lighting.

Academics and alumni from Scottish universities met with counterparts from Indian universities at a roundtable event

Academics and alumni from Scottish universities met with counterparts from Indian universities at a roundtable event

I witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Glasgow University and Biocon, one of India’s largest life sciences companies, which will drive collaboration between the institutions on work to meet some of our most pressing health needs.

Widespread innovation

The innovation I saw is not just restricted to universities and mainstream business. In Delhi, I had the honour of attending an event to mark the second year of funding for the Scotland:India Impact Link programme. This programme, supported by the Scottish Government, provides investment and training for Indian social enterprises backed up with mentoring from Scottish social enterprises.

The Deputy First Minister met social entrepreneurs that benefitted from Round 1 of the Scotland:India Impact Link as he launched Round 2

The Deputy First Minister met social entrepreneurs that benefitted from Round 1 of the Scotland:India Impact Link as he launched Round 2

I met recipients of the first round of funding, including Porsoc Innovators who have devised a unique solution to help underprivileged children having the right furniture at home and school to support their studies – the DESKIT – a normal school bag that is convertible into a study table, which has benefitted more than 7,000 students in 10 Indian states so far.

In Bangalore, I was delighted to formally launch the Berambadi Primary School Waste Water Treatment Plant. This unique collaboration has seen Scotland’s James Hutton Institute working with Indian partners to provide clean water and sanitation to a school of 200 pupils.

Celebrating together

I hosted St. Andrews Day Receptions in Delhi and Bangalore, where I launched the ScotlandIsNow campaign in India, promoting Scotland as a modern and vibrant country for people to come to live, to work, to study and invest.

While in India the Deputy First Minister launched ScotlandIsNow

It was truly inspiring for me to see what India and Scotland can achieve when we work together. Now I want build on these excellent foundations, to forge more partnerships that meet the challenges we face in the future, and to do so in a way that helps not just our two nations, but the wider world as well.


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