As part of the Maitri initiative of his government, Australia’s trade minister Dan Tehan has announced two new scholarship and cultural exchange programs for Indian students. The two scholarships, Fulbright and Rhodes, will support 45 graduate and undergraduate Indian students planning to study at Australian universities. The scholarship will cover all the educational fees and stipends for covering the living expenses of the selected candidates.
Additionally, there will be an investment in stipends in 11 fellowships for high-level doctoral students who will get stipends at par with the Rhodes and Fulbright scholarships. Speaking to news agency ANI, Tehan said that the initiatives will help strengthen the ties and cooperation between the two countries.
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Tehan also announced cultural exchange programs to improve cultural understanding between the two countries to strengthen their relationship. He added that with the scholarships, Indian students will no longer have to worry about their living costs in Australia and they can focus more on the education part.
Tehan further said that the scholarship was just a part of a list of other announcements that could come from the two countries in the next 30 days. “So this $15 million for students to come to Australia is just part of what we’re doing in these cultural exchanges that we’re also funding. But there will be many more announcements including I hope in the next 30 days,” he said.
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Tehan added that the announcement of a free trade agreement between the two countries could be done soon. Before Tehan’s announcement, Australia’s Foreign Minister Marise Payne has launched the Maitri scholars program that will provide 11 million dollars for four years to support Indian students for their education in Australian universities.
Talks between India and Australia have been going on for the signing of a new Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement. The Australian delegation is currently in India to discuss the finalisation of the agreement and both countries are expected to sign an interim agreement in this regard in March.
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