New Delhi, Sep 16 : The much ambitious and a game changer in cultural and educational relationship between India and ASEAN countries - a special PhD Scholarship in IITs for 1,000 students from these countries was launched here on Monday.
The Rs 300 crore initiative was envisioned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on January 25, 2018 in Delhi on the occasion of the 25th Anniversary commemorative ASEAN-India Summit.
Launching the unique initiative in the presence of Union HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar said the move will strengthen the deep and historical ties between India and ASEAN.
Those students from ASEAN countries selected under the scheme can complete their PhD with Government of India funding at par with Indian counterparts. Such funding will cover the entire cost of study and living expenses for up to five years of a PhD programme.
IIT Delhi will be the nodal centre for the scholarship programme.Applicants can apply online on the portal at http://asean.iitd.ac.in, officials said.ASEAN members comprise of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr Jaishankar said the move will open up "India's most celebrated institutions IITs to one thousand ASEAN students".Under the first year, 250 students will be granted the benefit, in the next academic year, 300 students from ASEAN countries and year after 450 students would be given admission to undertake PhD works.
The first batch of the ASEAN students will be admitted in January 2020. Admissions under the programme will be staggered over three academic years i.e. 2019-2020, 2020-2021 and 2021-2022.
The Ministry of Human Resource Development will provide scholarships to ASEAN students and the fellowship programme at a total budget outlay of Rs 300 crore (approximately USD 45 million) is the single-largest capacity development initiative of India in its partnership with ASEAN, an MEA release said.
In his address, Chutintorn Gongsakdi, Thailand Ambassador to India, said the initiative only reflects Government of India's sincerity to implement its Act East policy to strengthen the engagement with ASEAN countries.
"This scholarship initiative recognizes India's presence and ASEAN's need to go forward amid the fourth industrial revolution," he said adding this shows India's rising power in an evolving Indo Pacific.
Union HRD Minister Mr Nishank also spoke on the occasion and said that the ministry would always stand by the Ministry of External Affairs in boosting ties with ASEAN countries.(UNI)