No special rules, permissions yet for students' travel to and from the UK: British Deputy High Commissioner

British Deputy High Commissioner Andrew Fleming said that the current situation is likely to prevail till the end of this year, with no speculation of change. He also spoke about India-UK relations 
British Deputy High Commissioner Andrew Fleming | (Pic: Express)
British Deputy High Commissioner Andrew Fleming | (Pic: Express)

As the new strain of COVID-19 leads to a new lockdown in the UK, disrupting travel opportunities to and from the UK, British Deputy High Commissioner Andrew Fleming said that no special rules and permission have been formulated for the holiday season for students wanting to come back home to Telangana or go back to the UK. The current situation is likely to prevail till the end of this year, with no speculation of change.

In addition to this, Fleming also listed out the role of the British High Commission in Telangana during the pandemic, in terms of relief work, investments from UK based pharma companies and a drastic 136% increase in migration of students to the UK. Addressing the media, the High Commissioner said, "Indians are among the fastest-growing nationalities of students in the UK. Over 1,60,000 Indian students have studied in the UK in the last 10 years. During 2019-20, close to 50,000 Indian students successfully received Tier IV visa to pursue higher education in the UK. This was an increase of 136% from the previous year. British Council has organised over 10 study UK exhibitions in Telangana, hosting representatives of over 100 UK universities. On an average, 800 Study UK aspirants visit each fair." 

"Last week we saw a visit by our Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab to India that reinforced the strength of the relationship between the UK and India. I was pleased that this visit encompassed Southern India — in the form of a visit to Bengaluru. You will also know that our Prime Minister Boris Johnson was invited by PM Modi to visit India for the Republic Day celebrations. I see this as a further opportunity to strengthen a key strategic relationship between our respective nations," he said. He further added, "Specifically, the Prime Minister will use his visit to India to boost our cooperation in areas that matter to the UK and that will be priorities for our international engagement throughout 2021 — from trade and investment to defence and security, and health and climate change. There are 842 Indian companies in the UK with a combined turnover of £41.2 billion, creating jobs across all regions of the United Kingdom." The high commissioner also stated that these mere numbers underscore the scale or importance attached to the relationship of both the countries. 

"As the 'pharmacy of the world', India supplies more than 50% of the world's vaccines, indeed Hyderabad currently manufactures the bulk of these. However, over a billion doses of the UK's Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine are being manufactured at India's Serum Institute in Pune. Our countries have cooperated extremely closely throughout the coronavirus outbreak to maintain the flow of medical goods for our citizens. The UK has received 11 million facemasks and three million packets of paracetamol from India during the pandemic, and we continue to work together to keep vital supply chains open," he said. 

Speaking about the struggle of repatriation during the pandemic lockdown, he said, "The states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana had relatively few British nationals compared to places like Punjab and Gujarat but the exercise was to identify all who wished to leave and bring them from across the region to join flights out of Hyderabad during the lockdown. My small team rose to a huge challenge and over one night we moved a number of people a distance equivalent to a journey from London to Melbourne, provided food and drink to 180 passengers and ensured an early departure of their flight. We subsequently assisted others needing to reach Bengaluru and Chennai." 

Indian companies continue to partner with UK companies to adopt the best of British Technologies be it in sectors like deep tech, infrastructure or life sciences. Companies from the Telugu region benefited by adopting UK tech and services to the tune of £45 million to date this financial year. Similarly, companies from the Telugu region continue to benefit and expand their global reach using the UK as a preferred destination. Companies from the region invested £55 million in the UK to grow their global footprint and make a mark for companies from Hyderabad in the EU region. In addition to this, the recent purchase by UK-based Pharma company, ZNZ Parma of a controlling stake in Hyderabad-based Celon Laboratories worth Rs 559 crore is also worth a special mention.

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