India is the largest recipient of the Erasmus funding since opening the Erasmus programme to the third world countries 30 years ago, according to Tomasz Kozlowski, Ambassador of the European Union (EU) to India.

Kozlowski, who was in Manipal in connection with the inauguration of Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence in European Studies at Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE) on Friday evening, told presspersons that Erasmus has financed close to 5,800 scholarships to Indian nationals over the years.

Of them, about 250 Erasmus+ alumni are from Karnataka and more than 25 from Manipal University itself. In the last four years since Erasmus Mundus upgraded into Erasmus+, almost 200 Indian universities have benefited from various types of Erasmus funding, he said.

Speaking about the Centre of Excellence in Manipal, he said the long and progressive relationship with MAHE, which has 13 projects financed under Erasmus+, culminated in the Centre of Excellence for the Department of European Studies in the university.

On the EU programmes in India, Kozlowski said people-to-people connect and cooperation in higher education are key features of the EU-India strategic partnership, being identified as one of the focus areas. Whether it is India-EU Agenda for Action 2020, Joint Statement at the EU India Summit 2017 or the EU Strategy on India announced on November 20, both sides have committed to take forward the cooperation through such initiatives as India’s GIAN programme and the EU’s Erasmus+ programme.

“Under capacity building programmes for higher education, €6.8 million (₹55.19 crore) were committed for 2018 for Indian universities, as a partner country for Erasmus+, with 10 new projects involving 47 Indian universities. This follows three years of achievements in EU-funded capacity building projects in India already involving more than 100 Indian universities,” he said.