Varanasi: Australian High Commissioner to India, Barry O’Farrell has said that the New Education Policy, 2020, provides a perfect opportunity for India and Australia to continue developing important partnerships, as he complimented the efforts to implement the “transformational education policy agenda”.

He was addressing the faculty members and students of Banaras Hindu University at the Mahamana Hall of Institute of Science on Tuesday, during his maiden visit to the university as High Commissioner.

Acknowledging the contribution of BHU to modern Indian history, he said that through its notable alumni and scholars who fought for independence, and its achievements in modern science and technology, BHU has been at the forefront of excellence in education and leadership for more than 100 years. He said that the tremendous growth in people-to-people links of India and Australia, will and sustain the relationship over the long term and this is where institutions like BHU, its faculty and students – will potentially play a pivotal role.

He said that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison, have underlined the fact that India-Australia partnership is based on ‘mutual understanding, trust, common interests and the shared values of democracy and rule of law’. Farrell said both the PMs have agreed that education, research and skills are a central component of India-Australia relationship. He said that education supports the progress of our nations-and our recovery from Covid19 crisis. Lauding the efforts of government of India in tackling the pandemic and vaccine rollout, he said that India remains the natural leader in the region and it has and will play a leading role in COVID-19 recovery. He said that Australia excels internationally across a range of fields like medicine, energy, earth and planetary sciences, engineering, and biosciences, to name a few. And BHU is at the forefront of these fields. “By combining the research expertise of Australian and Indian industries, we can produce new products, deliver new understanding and new knowledge that will make a real difference to people’s lives,” he said.

Speaking on the occasion, the BHU vice chancellor Prof. Rakesh Bhatnagar said that BHU, established by the great visionary Mahamana Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya, is a unique place for the blend of science and spirituality, ancient and modern techniques, culture and values. He said that BHU has been striving hard to excel in the field of teaching, research and innovation. Besides establishing the core facilities to house state-of-the-art equipment for research and innovation, the varsity has established incubation centre for promotion of startups and specialized hospitals and research centres for promotion of health care and innovation in the field of medical sciences. He added that international collaborations have played extremely important role in all round development of the University. The Vice Chancellor also listed BHU’s ongoing collaborations with Australian institutions. He expressed hope that many more collaborations will emerge between Indian and Australian institution which will help in enhancing the academic productivity of both the nations.

Delivering the welcome address, the director of the Institute of Science, Prof. A. K. Tripathi said the institute has played a central role in the emergence of BHU as one of the top ranked institutions in the country and also as one of the 10 institutions of eminence recognized by the Govt of India.  He said that the scientific contributions of Institute’s faculty members have been recognized by premiere science academies of the country and about a dozen faculty members are in the list of top 2% most cited researchers of their field. They have very strong international linkages with the leading research groups across the globe including Australia. He added that BHU happens to be the only University in the country to get a grant of about 17 million USD from the DST for acquiring some of the most advanced equipments of scientific analysis which is expected to provide a quantum jump in the quality of publications by the faculty members.

Dean Faculty of Science, Prof. Mallikarjun Joshi, gave a brief about the university, its components and the diverse disciplines of study, the university offers. He also talked about the key areas in which BHU is partnering with Global as well as Australian institutions.

Prof. H.P Mathur Co-ordinator, International centre, conducted the event and elaborated on the working of the centre and concluded the event by delivering vote of thanks. The High Commissioner was felicitated with hand-made shawl and mementoes.

Earlier, the High Commissioner was welcomed by the VC at the Central Registry. They exchanged views on further boosting mutual collaborations and linkages between the BHU and Australian institutions. The meeting was attended by Registrar, Dr. Neeraj Tripathi, Director, Institute of Science, Prof. Anil K. Tripathi, Director, Institute of Environment and Sustainable Development, Prof. A. S. Raghuvanshi, Director, Institute of Agriculture, Prof. Ramesh Chand, Director, Institute of Management, Prof. S. K. Dubey, UNESCO Chair for Peace and Cultural Understanding, Prof. Priyankar Upadhyay, Dean, Faculty of Science, Prof. Mallikarjun Joshi, Director, Institute of Medical Sciences, Prof. B. R. Mittal, Coordinator International Centre, Prof. H P. Mathur, Prof. Shyam Sunder, Dep. of Medicine, IMS and Dr. Rajiv Kumar, Dept. of Medicine, IMS.


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