New Delhi, June 3 (IANS) Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Bangladesh later this week, Dhaka University has become the first among the SAARC countries to partner with the South Asian University, whose ground-breaking ceremony was performed by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj here on Wednesday.
Speaking at the event in Maidangarhi, Sushma Swaraj said Modi had proposed at the SAARC Summit in Kathmandu last year that SAU should connect with at least one university in each of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries.
“I would like to compliment SAU for initiating partnership arrangements with institutions in each SAARC country. I believe that an MOU has been signed with Dhaka University and more such arrangements are in the pipeline,” she said.
Sushma Swaraj said she was happy that the university, which was set up in 2010 and functioning out of the Akbar Bhawan campus in Chanakyapuri, would have its own permanent abode very soon at Maidangarhi, near Chattarpur.
She said India, at the 13th SAARC Summit in Dhaka, had offered to host the university.
“Our objective was to establish a university dedicated to the region with world-class facilities, professional faculty, diligent students and brilliant researchers,” she said at the event.
“Such a university would forge a sense of South Asian consciousness by bringing together South Asian students in the common pursuit of quality education,” she said.
Setting up of the university “is one of the most visible sign of transformation of SAARC from declaration to implementation”.
She said India is committed to bearing 100 percent of the capital cost of $198 million towards the establishment of the university.
Sushma Swaraj said that in the coming days and years, India “will work assiduously to make the region more connected and more prosperous”.
“Cooperation in the field of education will be of paramount importance if we are to ensure improvement in the inter-linked destinies of the people of South Asia. We are taking several steps in this direction including through the use of modern means of communication,” she added.
She said India is in the process of extending the National Knowledge Network to all SAARC countries.
“This will allow students in South Asia to access digital libraries and network resources unimpeded. SAARC Satellite will also benefit the region in education and research,” she added.
She complimented the university in the five years of its existence “for moving in the right direction with state-of-the-art infrastructure, dynamic curricula and a globally-recruited faculty”.
“I am sure that the first brick we are laying today will grow into an edifice of excellence,” she said.
The varsity is coming up on a 100 acre plot.
The varsity at present offers Masters’ and research programmes in Applied Mathematics, Biotechnology, Computer Science, Economics, Legal Studies, International Relations and Sociology.