The visit, which ended on Tuesday, was a follow-up to a decision at the bilateral summit between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown in January this year. The two leaders had agreed to make co-operation in education an important pillar of bilateral ties and decided to collaborate in establishing a new central university, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) and new Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER).
President of Universities UK and Principal of King's College, London, Rick Trainor said the delegation had been 'enormously impressed by the scale of the planned expansion in India's higher educational system and the strength of the commitment by all those concerned to make it happen'.
'We are very pleased that the British university system is going to play an active role in supporting this expansion, drawing on the world-class expertise of British universities, our strong ties with India and the existing institutional links between British and Indian higher education institutions', he added.
Trainor said they have identified a number of important areas for collaboration. 'We have also discussed the approach to select the specific premier institutions that British universities will work with under the initiative and look forward to firming these up in the near future', he said.
Besides Trainor, the other members of the delegation were Paul Wellings, vice-chancellor of Lancaster University, Caroline Gipps, vice-chancellor of the University of Wolverhampton, and Andrew Hamnett, vice-chancellor of the University of Strathclyde.
They met Minister of State for Higher Education D. Purandeswari and senior officials at the Ministry of Human Resource Development, the University Grants Commission and the Prime Minister's Office. They also met Deputy Chairperson of the Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia.
The British delegation held consultations with Indian vice-chancellors and officials from Kurukshetra University, Jamia Milia Islamia, Delhi University, National University of Educational Planning and Administration. They also visited the campuses of the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi and Jawaharlal Nehru University.