Delhi's Success Will Prove Challenge to Emulate: Scottish Minister

By Manish Chand

New Delhi, Oct 15 (IANS) Scotland, which hosts the next Commonwealth Games, is highly impressed with Delhi's success in holding the multi-sport event, which it says will prove a "challenge to emulate" in Glasgow in 2014.

Scotland is also keen to scale up economic, energy and educational collaboration between the two sides.

"Holding a multi-sporting event is a challenge for any country in the world. Delhi hosted very successful Commonwealth Games. It will be a challenge to emulate," Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond, who heads the provincial Scottish government, told IANS in an interview here.

"India is a major sporting power and a major world power. Scotland will have to be on our march to match the colour, vibrancy and spectacular nature of the opening ceremony," Salmond said.
Glasgow was officially handed over the flag by Delhi Thursday night for the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Salmond, an ardent proponent of Scottish independence, said he was enthused by the performance of Scotland, which won 26 medals, including nine gold. He was also highly impressed with the "fantastic time" he had at the athletes' village.

Blending sports and business, Salmond, who came here Monday on his maiden visit, is juggling time between meeting senior Indian ministers, businessmen and educationists to promote ties between India and Scotland, a semi-autonomous province of the United Kingdom with a population of around five million.

In his interaction with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Salmond shared his ideas for taking business, education and energy ties between India and Scotland, home to 35,000 Indians, to another level. "We see a huge potential in the business relationship between India and Scotland. Indian companies have invested 700 million pounds in Scotland, creating 3,200 jobs. We want to double and even treble trade and investment in the next five years." He said that 16 Scottish companies are already operating in India.

Forging closer collaboration in education and research is another promising area. "Scotland has a global reputation for research and the quality of its educational institutions. We want to develop joint ventures with India in developing intellectual capital and in nurturing medicinal products," he said.

Scotland and India Tuesday signed four educational agreements to promote joint research in fields like biotechnology and bio-informatics, diabetes and foot care training, IT and video games.

The Scottish government has identified India as a key focus country for expanding strategic and economic engagement. Scotland's Minister for External Affairs Fiona Hyslop has published an India Plan that focuses on four key areas - tourism, education and science, trade and investment, and cultural links.

Around 4,000 Indian students also study in Scottish colleges and universities and nearly 20 Bollywood films have been shot in picturesque locales in Scotland.

Bilateral collaboration in energy holds huge potential, said Salmond, while pointing out that Scotland is a global leader in renewable energy that accounts for 40 percent of its electricity requirements.

Scotland, potentially Europe's green energy powerhouse, is estimated to have 206 Gigawatts of practical offshore wind, wave and tidal resource, worth around 200 billion pounds.

Scotland has offered its expertise to India in developing off-shore wind energy and proposed a plan to map India's offshore energy which could be worth 60 Gw, said Salmond. Scottish Energy Minister Jim Mather is expected to come to India next month with 12 top energy companies to discuss these proposals in greater detail, said Salmond.


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