New Delhi, Feb 23 (IANS) Emphasizing the need for better engagement with Indian youth, who comprise nearly half of the country's population, the envoys of four leading developed countries Saturday pushed for greater student exchange programmes with India.
Speaking at a seminar "Youth Leading India into the Future", Cord Meier-Klodt, deputy chief of mission at the German embassy, said: "Germany needs skilled labour... many more are required in future, particularly skilled professionals, and for that we want tap more Indian youth."
He asserted that Germany is open to Indian students and was ready to grasp more scholars for research projects.
Meier-Klodt said the embassy is trying to attract more Indians towards learning the German language and a programme is being initiated in government-run Kendriya Vidalyas.
"The student exchange programme between our countries has increased by 25 percent over the last few years," he said at the Confederation of Indian Industry-organised programme.
Echoing the views, Swedish Ambassador Harald Sandberg said: "The youth represents the future. With its demography India represents the future, and we are definitely reaching out (to them)."
Stating that both countries have a lot to learn from each other, Sandberg also said that India is no longer a developing nation in his perception and it is already an emerged nation.
He, however, asserted that Indian government needs to de-regulate most of its markets, particularly education and healthcare, for greater involvement of rich nations and for transparency.
Canadian High Commissioner Stewart Beck said: "The reality is that we are not a country of traders and Canada has been good in developing technology. So the need is to focus more on innovation technology. Canada and India have been working together in this direction. The expensive Canadian technology should be made reasonable for India."
He called on Indian youth to undertake research in innovation technology and that India should emulate the Canadian model in the sphere.
Beck said Canada has a huge Indo-Canadian population and it has one of the most progressive immigration policies in the world, which makes it more attractive for Indians to take up higher education or jobs in that country
High Commissioner of Singapore Karen Tan noted that not enough Indian students and professionals were coming to the island nation.
"Singapore and India are more close in terms of trade, connectivity, and distance, and being the 8th largest trading partner of India, the engagement should have been greater. However, the call of west seems more attractive and promising for Indian students and professionals. This perspective needs to change. Singapore can offer equally best opportunity," she said.
Tan said that her country has student exchange and job swapping programmes with India, but "somehow the two countries haven't been able to take the engagement forward".
"Singapore is like a hub to connect with people of different origins. Singapore has been trying to harness the potential of the Indian youth," she said
The 9th Young Indians National Summit was organised by Young Indians, a part of CII,