London: Scotland`s cultural, business and academic ties with India are to be bolstered with the creation of a new centre at the University of Edinburgh.
The Edinburgh India Institute will encourage a greater awareness of India in Scotland and aims to build a programme of training in major Indian languages, the University said in a statement.
It will also stage cultural events, attract high-profile speakers and encourage new research initiatives, student and staff exchanges that will deepen the many existing links between the two countries.
In addition, the University has created a visiting professorship in Contemporary Indian Studies, co-funded with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations.
Prof Amita Batra, the first holder of the chair, will give her inaugural lecture India`s Growth Story: The High and Lows on Tuesday at Old College.
Prof Sir Timothy O`Shea, Principal of the University of Edinburgh, said: "I am delighted at the launch of this new institute, which builds on the very strong relationship that the University has with India. This is reflected by the many partnerships we have with Indian businesses and institutions, as well as in our Indian students and staff, who add so much to the University."
The launch of the Institute comes after a series of events that brought together researchers from Edinburgh with leading Indian academics, which are expected to encourage new collaborations between the University and partners across India.
They include a Particle Physics Symposium in Delhi; a Science Roadshow in Delhi, Pune and Chennai; an Informatics event in Coimbatore; the launch of the Centre for Brain Development and Repair in Bangalore; and the visit of a high-ranking delegation from Delhi University.
Prof Roger Jeffery, India Dean at the University of Edinburgh and the Director of the new institute, said: "This institute will act as a bridge between Scotland and India.
As well as aiding understanding between the two countries, it will also act as a hub to help establish new commercial, academic, educational, cultural and sporting links."
The University has a long tradition of teaching and scholarship relating to India. Former Edinburgh figures include William Robertson, who wrote one of the earliest European texts on Indian commerce and culture, and John Brockington, who was Secretary-General of the International Association of Sanskrit Studies from 2010-2012.