The External Affairs Ministry has come down hard on Jamia Millia Islamia University for its “apathy” in implementing the MoUs it had signed with three Palestinian universities during President Pranab Mukherjee’s landmark visit to Palestine in October 2015. In a strongly worded letter to Jamia Vice Chancellor Talat Ahmad, Minister of State for External Affairs M J Akbar sought an explanation from the university on why the MoUs were at a “virtual standstill”, adding the institute’s approach seems to be a hurdle in moving forward.
The Minister said during his recent visit to Palestine, it was brought to his notice that no follow-up action has been initiated on the MoUs signed between Jamia Millia Islamia and the Palestinian Universities.
Akbar also asked the Jamia Vice Chancellor to provide details to the government urgently on status of other MoUs and agreements signed by the premier institution with universities from other countries.
“Over a year has passed since it was signed but Jamia has not shown any inclination to activate this MoU. The Palestinian side is keen to move forward, but apathy seems to be a hurdle.
“We would like to know, soon, as to why there has been no movement,” Akbar said in the letter.
When contacted, a Jamia official said the university was keen to implement the MoUs signed with Al Quds, Al Istiklal and Hebron universities and approached the Ministry of Human Resources Development for granting funds to implement the pacts which provide for capacity building initiatives and academic exchanges.
In the letter, Akbar said the Palestinian education minister is expected to visit India shortly as outcome of the Joint Commission meeting between the two countries two months back.
“The visit could be a potential inflection point for the education sector cooperation between the two countries.
Without follow up, all agreements become infructious.
“Our representative in Ramallah Anis Rajan has always been ready to extend fullest cooperation to you in this regard. Please let me know why the MoUs are at a virtual standstill,” Akbar wrote in the letter to Ahmad.
The Minister said capacity building and academic exchanges with friendly countries form an important pillar of India’s foreign policy and in this regard Jamia has entered into MoUs and pacts with several foreign universities.
“I would also like to know, on an urgent basis, the status of other MoUs and agreements signed with universities from other countries by Jamia Millia,” said Akbar.
The Jamia official said the institute has been making sincere efforts to implement the MoUs but at times the process gets delayed due to procedural difficulties as well as fund crunch.
“We do not have any separate fund to implement the MoUs. So we have written to the HRD Ministry to provide us funds,” the Jamia official said.