London: LONDON: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Monday that the UK must realise the importance of Indian students to its economy because they help “subsidise” education costs in London.
Referring to a major drop in students coming to study at the UK universities over the last few years, he highlighted that there were other countries that were more welcoming.
“They (the UK) have to realise that when international students come here (Britain), they subsidise the educational costs here,” he told PTI.
“We already have a reality where the quantum of students coming into the UK is declining and other jurisdictions are available. The UK also is a part of the competitive market in that area,” Mr Jaitley said.
The Union Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs is in the UK to represent the Indian government at a special reception hosted by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace to launch the UK-India Year of Culture.
“It is a great positive gesture that Her Majesty herself is hosting a reception to mark the UK-India Year of Culture. This only re-emphasises the importance which is attached to the Indo-UK relationship,” he said.
On Monday, the minister attended a special market opening ceremony at the London Stock Exchange followed by a round-table with investors where he met UK Minister for International Trade Liam Fox.
He then attended an ‘In Conversation’ event organised by the UK India Business Council (UKIBC) and Federation Chambers of Indian Industry (FICCI) at the Taj hotel in London, when he stressed on India being open to foreign investments as any idea of a “protectionist economy was no longer relevant”.
“There is a huge mindset change in India with much greater support for reform activity…India being a democracy has its own dynamism and decision making process. Nothing in India is ever ruled out,” he said.
Mr Jaitley is also scheduled to meet UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson before heading to the Palace.
He will be meeting his British counterpart Chancellor Philip Hammond on Monday.
Mr Jaitley is also scheduled to meet a series of investors and CEOs tomorrow at events organised by JP Morgan and Confederation of British Industry (CBI) before he leaves for India.