Besides being the global culture centre of the world, India remains a high educational destination among Namibian students, thanks to having one of the world’s largest higher education systems.
To date about 1200 Namibian students and officials have received training in India while the Indian High Commission to Namibia currently provides about 150 fully-paid scholarships to Namibian officials and students for both long term and short-term courses annually. But for Indian High Commissioner to Namibia Kumar Tuhin, the opportunities are vast.
“For the 2018-19 training year, 22 scholarships are being offered for Namibian students, which include enrolment and course fees, besides a fixed amount of living expenses for the full duration of the course and return economy class airfares to the nearest international airport and train fare to the place of study in India. Already a large number of Namibian students have been exposed to ICCR scholarships. It is so heartening to meet the students who have studied in India and are making significant contributions at their respective work places in Namibia,” Tuhin tells Us.
The Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) Scholarship Scheme was launched to enhance the academic opportunities for students of African countries in India by increasing the number of scholarships to pursue under-graduate, post-graduate and higher courses.
Coming off celebrating India’s National Day on 26 January, Tuhin believes that there is a need to revitalize and strengthen the economic and commercial relations between Namibia and India.
He says while there is already a significant overlap here, the rapid growth of the Indian economy and its size provides a lot of scope for the Namibian companies to do business with India.
“Pharmaceuticals and diamonds are two sectors I can point to for example. Namibia imports pharmaceutical products and India is amongst the largest exporters. But a good part of Namibian imports comes through third countries. Similarly, the famed Namibian diamonds ultimately do reach India for processing (as 9 out of 10 diamonds in the world are processed in India) but after going through many intermediate layers.
If at least some of this business is done directly between the two countries, it will definitely boost the bilateral trade and in turn create mutually beneficial partnerships. Business and investment decisions are however decisions which will be taken by individual companies,” he adds.
For 2018, one of the Indian High Commission’s focus will be expanding their outreach and creating more awareness about the tourism and business potential of India.
Already, the Government of India has included Namibia in the list of countries eligible for e-visa, which means that Namibian citizens can now apply and receive visas online, with hope that it will increase the number of persons travelling to India from Namibia.
“To the Indian community, my message is to keep excelling at whatever place they are working and to serve as a bridge of friendship between India and Namibia. And for Namibians, the message is that India was, is and will forever remain a friend of Namibia,” Tuhin concludes.
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