On his third visit to the city and his second as British High Commissioner to India,Sir James Bevan on Wednesday stressed the importance in relations between India and Britain and highlighted strides made by the two countries in business,education and trade.
Bevan said,The bilateral ties between the two countries are old,and we want to strengthen and improve them further. Both the countries have made rapid strides in trade and education. This could be improved further.
The new visa rules,Bevan says,have benefited Indian students a lot.
For starters,we have cracked down on bogus institutes. A lot of students who were admitted were not good. That too has been dealt with. Earlier,a student could work at any job after graduation. Now,under the new rules,a student who holds a graduate level job can work for three years and can extend it for another three. We understand the cost of education and living is high,but this will help students get decent jobs and also allow them to work longer in the United Kingdom, he said.
Aiming at improving contacts at the grassroot level,Bevan says,We want to increase people-to-people contact. That will be done only through more cultural programmes. The British Council which also has their library is active in this regard. There are a lot of companies from Britain that are based in the city and the idea will be to encourage more Indian and Pune-based companies to invest in Britain.
On security,Bevan cited the case of Anuj Bidve,who was killed two years ago.
First,our sympathies to his family. Second even though this was a rare case,it was handled swiftly and the perpetrators were punished. We interact with Indian students who say there are no racist attacks on them. Britain was recently declared one of the safest countries for foreign students. A lot of universities are looking to establish ties with India and setting up campuses here,which will award degrees from universities back in Britain. This will help improve ties between the two countries.
On the Mumbai-Bangalore corridor project,Bevan said they have been speaking to the state government on it.
We have discussed plans and will be happy to partner the government and share our expertise with the government here, he added.