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The High Commissioner of India visits the University of Cambridge

What does India offer to UK students and businesses and how can UK academics contribute to India’s success were among the topics discussed when the Indian High Commissioner to the UK, Mr Ranjan Mathai, visited Cambridge Judge Business School on Monday, 27 October.

The Indian High Commissioner at CJBS
After meeting with the Vice-Chancellor of the University, Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, Mr Mathai visited the School for a short tour and lunch with key faculty members.

Professor Jaideep Prabhu, Jawaharlal Nehru Professor of Indian Business & Enterprise and Director of the Centre for India & Global Business (CIGB), chaired a roundtable discussion where Cambridge Judge faculty had a chance to introduce themselves and outline their key activities and research in relation to India. Dr Kishore Sengupta, Reader in Operations Management, described his interest in the implementation of large projects in India; Professor Sucheta Nadkarni, Sinyi Professor of Chinese Management, discussed how she is researching gender issues in India, in particular women as political leaders in India; Dr Paul Kattuman, Reader in Economics, talked about the competitiveness of Indian firms; Dr Shahzad Ansari, Reader in Strategy, talked about social enterprise in India; Dr Kamal Munir, Reader in Strategy, discussed microfinance and inequality; and Dr Shai Vyakarnam, Director of the Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning, expressed an interest in boosting the commercialisation of Indian biotechnology.

Mr Mathai highlighted some key themes of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s plan to get the Indian economy back on a high growth trajectory. Mr Mathai described the Government’s new programme ‘Make in India’ which focuses on manufacturing and industrialisation. The idea is to develop new manufacturing cities, logistical hubs and residential towns, incorporating development, sustainability and connectivity. The Government wants to make India one of the world’s leading manufacturing and investment destinations. “In order to do this, we need to focus on innovation, skills development and education,” said Mr Mathai.

That’s why we want to work with educational institutions in the UK to open up a discussion on current issues and look for new opportunities to collaborate.

Professor Jaideep Prabhu said: “It was a delight to have Mr Mathai spend time with us at Cambridge Judge Business School. He is a very distinguished diplomat with deep knowledge of India and the world and a great deal of knowledge and experience behind him. He immediately picked up on the main ideas behind the various projects that faculty discussed and made his own suggestions for how we might take all these ideas forward. It was a true meeting of minds and gave us all a good idea of how we might proceed with the work we are already doing. We hope to have him visit us again before too long.”

Cambridge Judge Business School has strong ties with India. The Jawaharlal Nehru Professorship of Indian Business and Enterprise was generously endowed by the Government of India in 2006. Also, it is home for the Centre for India & Global Business. The centre acts as a platform for research and engagement with key partners in industry, academia and policy in India, the UK and across the world and aims to examine India’s current and future role in the global knowledge economy.

In addition to that, the Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning (CfEL) has established a Cambridge – Bangalore network in order to work with Indian entrepreneurs, and Accelerate Cambridge, a start-up “accelerator” from the School, supports some Indian entrepreneurs in their venture creation.

The High Commissioner also paid a visit to the Centre for South Asian Studies at the University of Cambridge and gave a public lecture on manufacturing in India at the Institute for Manufacturing before heading back to London.