Beijing, May 26: President Pranab Mukherjee today said India and China are poised to play a "significant and constructive" role in the 21st century as 10 Indian universities today signed agreements with Chinese varsities for academic cooperation coinciding with his visit here.
The agreements were signed in the presence of Mukherjee at the Peking university. "India and China are poised to play a significant and constructive role in the 21st Century.
When Indians and Chinese come together to address global challenges and build on their shared interests, there will be no limits to what our two peoples can jointly achieve," he said addressing the China-India University Presidents Roundtable on the occasion. Mukherjee said India's ancient academic advancement, like that of China's was world renowned.
"As far back as the 6th Century, seats of higher learning like Nalanda, Takshashila, Vikramashila, Valabhi, Somapura and Odantapuri had drawn scholars and cultivated contacts and academic exchanges with famed institutions of other countries in the region and beyond," he said.
"Takshashila was, in a sense, the most 'connected' of the Indian universities, a meeting ground of four civilisations -- Indian, Persian, Greek and Chinese. Many renowned people came to Takshashila -- Panini, Alexander, Chandragupta Maurya, Chanakya, Charaka, and Chinese Buddhist monks Faxian and Xuanzang," he said.
"Today, Government of India, in partnership with Indian and international foreign partners is taking a number of far reaching initiatives to revive this tradition and create centres of excellence that can be ranked among the leading institutions of the world," he said.
Stating that investment in research is important, Mukherjee said, "While R&D expenditure as percentage of GDP in India is about 0.8 per cent at present, we are making concerted efforts to increase this number".