Brunei: India on Thursday signed agreements with seven countries, who pledged their commitment to the ambitious Nalanda University project being built near the ruins of the ancient academic institution.
The Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) were signed with Australia, Cambodia, Singapore, Brunei, New Zealand, Lao PDR and Myanmar today.
These agreements are key to India`s plans to establish Nalanda University in Bihar as an institution of international repute.
Addressing the East Asia Summit here, where these MoUs were signed, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also expressed his gratitude to the countries supporting the project.
"I would like to thank the East Asia Summit participating countries for their support for the establishment of Nalanda University as an international institution of excellence."
"I am happy that the process of signing the inter-governmental Memorandum of Understanding on the Nalanda University has begun. Academic sessions at the University are set to begin next year. I hope students and faculty from all EAS countries will participate in this exciting venture," he said.
Prime Minister had arrived here yesterday to participate in the ASEAN-India Summit and the East Asia Summit (EAS), which is a forum for cooperation between various countries of this region with ASEAN and includes Australia, China, India, Japan, Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Russia and the US, in addition to the ten ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) countries.
The 10 ASEAN nations are Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Laos, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
The idea to revive Nalanda university was first mooted in 2005 by then president APJ Abdul Kalam.
The University is being built near the ruins of the historic academic place by the same name in Bihar and those involved with this project include Nobel laureate Amartya Sen.
Asked about the project, official sources said that it is making good progress.
They said that there will be five representatives from the EAS on the Nalanda University governing board.
According to sources, China has already committed USD one million for the project, Singapore has pledged USD 5-6 million, Australia about USD one million Australia dollar and all these funds have been committed on voluntary basis.