IIT Jodhpur-France ties hit roadblock

Announced more than two years ago when French President Nicolas Sarkozy visited New Delhi in December 2010,the much-publicised collaboration between IIT Jodhpur and France is still floundering

Written by Anubhuti Vishnoi | New Delhi | Published:May 4, 2012 2:29 am

Announced more than two years ago when French President Nicolas Sarkozy visited New Delhi in December 2010,the much-publicised collaboration between IIT Jodhpur and France is still floundering — and due to a rather unusual situation. France has termed the IIT Jodhpur academic environment and faculty rather unimpressive and the IIT in turn has said what the French are offering them is far too little for an institute of its stature.

Highly placed sources revealed to The Indian Express that France has conveyed to India in writing that it is “not impressed” by the leadership,faculty or infrastructure at IIT Jodhpur — one of the six new IITs set up in 2009. The IIT Jodhpur,in turn,finds little worth in the collaboration being offered by France and feels it would hardly contribute towards the long-term development of the institute.

The mutual dissatisfaction,it is learnt,is keeping the Memorandum of Understanding from materialising for two years now even as letters fly thick and fast between India and France on the issue.

France is learnt to have written to the Ministry of External Affairs,on its dissatisfaction with the academic leadership and environment at the IIT. A French delegation visited the campus in January to explore the possibilities of a wider collaboration and reportedly returned disappointed. This was followed by the letter to the MEA.

“The MEA forwarded the communication to the Union HRD Ministry which sought the views of the Director IIT Jodhpur on the issue. IIT Jodhpur,however,responded saying they were disappointed with what France was offering,” said a senior official. “While it was first agreed they would help set up six centres of excellence,they only finalised three of them later. When the IIT wanted to extend the collaboration in other areas,the French refused to commit to anything further. Mainly the feeling in the IIT is that what France is offering does not match the stature of an IIT.”

France is offering about 2 million Francs which the IIT feels is not as expected. As diplomacy requires that an MoU that has been announced must be respected,sources said a rather timid MoU is in the works for HRD Minister Kapil Sibal to sign when he visits Paris in July.

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