India launches PhD fellowship programmes at IITs for ASEAN countries.

In an attempt to give a fillip to increase the international footprint of IITs and boost academic ties with Asian neighbours, a programme was formally launched to fund 1,000 scholars from south east Asian countries to pursue PhD at the 23 Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs). The programme,that is aimed at enhancing the ‘cultural diversity’ on the IIT campuses is A joint initiative of the Human Resource Development and the ministry of External Affairs.

External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar and Minister of Human Resource Development Dr. Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank', formally launched the Fellowship Programme on September 16.

In January 2018, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced announced India's offer to provide up to 1000 integrated PhD fellowships for ASEAN students in IITs while attending the 25th Anniversary ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit in New Delhi.

IIT Delhi has been designated by MHRD as the coordinating IIT for the fellowship programme. It has developed a web portal (http://asean.iitd.ac.in) to administer the application and admission process. ASEAN students can log in to the portal to apply for PhD programmes of their choice at various IITs.

The first batch of the ASEAN students will be admitted in January 2020. Admissions under the programme will be staggered over three academic years i.e. 2019-2020, 2020-2021 and 2021-2022. MHRD will provide scholarships to ASEAN students at par with Indian PhD scholars, along with a yearly research grant, as applicable. IITs will make a small provision to cover living expenses of selected students from their own budgetary resources.

The fellowship programme at a total budget outlay of INR 300 crore (approximately USD 45 million) is the single-largest capacity development initiative of India in its partnership with ASEAN.