EU-India relations and the geopolitics of higher education

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This research report looks into the issue of higher education cooperation between the European Union (EU) and India from a geopolitical perspective. Cooperation in this domain has become a prominent element in the EU’s strategy towards India and forms a substantial field for cooperation between Europe and India today. An analysis of policy documents shows that the rationale behind the strategy to foster exchange in higher education is increasingly drawing from human capital theory, leaving other geopolitical dimensions in higher education cooperation behind. The report furthermore observes that the EU and its member states have made considerable progress in enhancing cooperation with India in the past decade, but it also concludes that continental Europe lags behind Anglo-Saxon countries. In terms of student mobility and institutional cooperation, Europe plays a modest role in the fast internationalisation of India’s education system. The recently announced restructuring of India’s education system will not necessarily change this pattern, the report argues. With the recently announced National Education Policy, the Indian government shows a firm commitment to a further internationalisation of India’s higher education system. On the one hand this opens up new opportunities for Europe to establish deeper ties with India, but it will also likely result in a further entanglement with Anglo-Saxon educational space. The report concludes that the EU could do much more and invest in institutionalising networks that can help fostering HEC with India. Without new initiatives and activities, the EU will likely continue to play a very modest role in the further internationalisation of India’s higher education system and will miss an excellent opportunity to give further substance to an already fragile partnership with an emerging global power.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherSouth Asia Democratic Forum
Number of pages40
Publication statusPublished - Jan-2021
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameSouth Asia Democratic Forum Research Reports
ISSN (Print)2406-5641


  • Higher education cooperation
  • EU-India relations

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