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Parliamentary Debates and Questions

S5W-13538: Jenny Gilruth (Mid Fife and Glenrothes)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 19 December 2017

To ask the Scottish Government what information it can provide regarding the recent visit to India by the Deputy First Minister.

Answered by: Fiona Hyslop 20 December 2017

The Deputy First Minister visited India between 2 and 6 December attending events and meetings in Mumbai and New Delhi. The Deputy First Minister was accompanied by a delegation of principals and vice principals from 11 Scottish universities and one college.

The strategic aims of the visit were focussed on education and trade and investment.

The Deputy First Minister spoke at four major events focused on academic collaboration.

Connections with Scotland promoted Scotland as a welcoming country and celebrated Indian students’ contribution to Scottish life, and brought alumni from Scottish universities together to look for opportunities to promote Scotland in the future;

a Research and Innovation Seminar organised by the British Council showcased many existing research partnerships between Scottish and Indian universities and encouraged new ones. The event looked at how more students from India can be attracted to Scotland and featured the announcement of the £200,000 scholarship programme for Indian students to be match funded by the Scottish Funding Council and Scottish universities;

a speech at the Water Impact Summit to highlight Scotland’s contribution to major Indian water programmes including the campaign to clean the Ganges;

a Fashion Show delivered through the partnership between Glasgow Kelvin College and the Women’s Government Polytechnic at Guntur, Andhra Pradesh. The collaboration explored the iconic Paisley pattern, reinvented through modern design. The participation of civil society organisations for acid attack and domestic abuse survivors underlined Scotland’s commitment to progressive values and experience in skills development for disadvantaged groups.

The Deputy First Minister highlighted Scotland’s expertise in social enterprise, launching the Indian franchise of the (Scotland-based) Social Enterprise Academy in Mumbai.

The Deputy First Minister also witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on Smart Cities between Strathclyde University and the Tata Institute for Social Sciences.

As well as supporting international collaboration and partnership the visit was an important step forward in cementing collaboration between Scotland’s own higher education community in order to maximise our collective reach and impact in overseas markets.

The Deputy First Minister held a one-to-one meeting with Suresh Prabhu, the Minister for Commerce and Industry. The Deputy First Minister highlighted Scotland’s strengths in clean energy and innovation, with particular emphasis on the opportunities around renewables, including tidal and wind power generation.

During the trip the Deputy First Minister met with current and potential new investors into Scotland to encourage the growth of their operations in Scotland.

The Deputy First Minister undertook a cross-sectoral discussion identifying new opportunities for business collaboration with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), one of the major umbrella associations for Indian business.

The visit also highlighted cultural collaboration and developed bilateral relations.

The Deputy First Minister was guest of honour at a St Andrew’s Day reception at the British High Commissioner’s residence showcasing Scotland’s food and drink as well as promoting Scotland as a place to visit. The entertainment provided highlighted Indian-Scotland cultural collaboration.

The Deputy First Minister also took the opportunity to raise the case of Jagtar Singh Johal, with both the UK and Indian Governments.

The programme included a number of other activities to support cultural, academic and business links. The visit generated positive media coverage in both Scotland and India.