President Pranab Mukherjee today called for a broader and institutionalised engagement between educational institutions of India and Russia so as to facilitate technological advancements across areas such as material sciences, aerospace, nuclear science, petrochemicals, mining and heavy engineering.
Addressing a function at the Moscow State University during the launch of a network of Indian and Russian institutions of higher education, on Friday, the President said India and Russia have a long history of educational cooperation.
In the late 1950s, the Soviet Union supported the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay in its formative years.
Tens of thousands of Indian students studied in Russia in the 1970s, '80s and '90s. Though the numbers have dropped somewhat in recent years, even now, over four thousand Indian students study at Russian universities. Some of our institutions have active programmes of cooperation - exchange of students, researchers and faculty members, and sharing of research publications, he pointed out.
The occasion saw the signing of an agreement between India's ministry of science and technology and the Russian Science Foundation as well as several agreements between Indian and Russian universities.
The President said Russia's educational institutions have a great legacy of accomplishment. Rabindranath Tagore, during his visit to the Soviet Union in 1930 had described Russian universities as ''miracles in the realm of education.''
It is this educational system that has led to Russia's enviable success as a nation of learning. It has enabled Russia's technological achievements in areas such as material sciences, aerospace, nuclear science, petrochemicals, mining and heavy engineering, he added.
The Moscow State University has produced 17 Nobel Prize and Fields Medal laureates in the last sixty years, the President pointed out.
At a time when India seeks to accelerate economic growth and development through a strong emphasis on technology and innovation, it will greatly benefit from such collaboration, he added.