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Professor Robin Mason welcomes Ambassador Dr. S. Jaishankar, Mrs Kyoko Jaishankar and India Consul General Dr. Aman Puri to the University of Birmingham.

A rising India needs to work with Western nations to find new ground to further strengthen a relationship that has already delivered considerable global political benefits and economic gains, one of India’s most eminent figures told an audience at the University of Birmingham.

Distinguished political, diplomatic and business leader Ambassador Dr. S. Jaishankar delivered the University of Birmingham India Institute’s inaugural Distinguished Lecture on his country’s relationship with Western nations.

He told the audience that working with the West was an essential means for India to continue to flourish in an increasingly fragmented world, adding that our turbulent times could create new opportunities to find common ground.

Dr Jaishankar, who is now President, Global Corporate Affairs, Tata Group, explored ‘What India means to the West’, with unique insights from his time as Foreign Secretary of India, and Indian Ambassador to the United States, China, and the Czech Republic.

Ambassador Dr. Jaishankar said: “It would be in Western interest that India emerge more rapidly as a source of global demand and supply, thereby reducing excessive dependence on any single geography. There are larger political principles to prove by ensuring India’s success. It will affirm that democratic politics and high growth economics are not mutually exclusive, as well as establishing that democratic values are global and not just Western.”

After delivering his lecture, Ambassador Jaishankar participated in a discussion panel featuring University of Birmingham Chancellor Lord Bilimoria of Chelsea, Consul General India Dr Aman Puri and Professor Scott Lucas, from the University’s Department of Political Science and International Studies.

India Consul General Dr. Aman Puri commented: “I am delighted that the University of Birmingham and the Consulate General of India are jointly hosting their first ever Distinguished Lecture. The University’s India Institute is playing an important role in improving collaboration between India and UK and we offer our best wishes and support for all future endeavours. 

“In a post-Brexit world, collaboration between UK and India is only expected to increase. As the British economy addresses crises in terms of shortage of skilled manpower, linkages between British and Indian universities and institutions can help tap into the huge pool of English-speaking professionals available in India.”

In partnership with the Consulate General of India, the University welcomed the former Indian Foreign Secretary to an evening that opened with Sampad Arts’ performance of Converse, featuring outstanding dance and music artists Vidya Patel and Shammi Pithia.

Professor Robin Mason, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (International) at the University of Birmingham, said: “We’re delighted to welcome Ambassador Dr. Jaishankar to the University of Birmingham. His reading of India’s relationship with Western nations, clearly drawn from his vast political, diplomatic and business experience, provided thought-provoking insight.

“As a civic university with a global outlook, we could not have wished for a better guest to deliver the India Institute’s inaugural Distinguished Lecture, in partnership with the Consulate General of India. We thank Dr. Jaishankar for giving people in the UK this unique opportunity to listen to and ask questions of an influential and distinguished thought leader.”

  • The University of Birmingham is ranked amongst the world’s top 100 institutions, its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham, including researchers and teachers and more than 6,500 international students from over 150 countries.
  • The India Institute was established in January 2018 and brings Birmingham and India closer together to deliver impactful research, create innovative education initiatives and extend the University’s influence across the globe.
  • The University’s relationship with India began in 1909 with the first cohort of Indian students attending the University to study for degrees in Mining and Commerce. Since then, the University has provided education to many outstanding Indian alumni.