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MJ Akbar says India ready to pay full sum of Rs 2,500 crore for South Asian University campus in Delhi

New Delhi: India is committed to bearing the entire expenditure of Rs 2,500 crore to build the permanent campus of the South Asian University (SAU) in Delhi, Minister of State for External Affairs MJ Akbar said on Monday.

"India is fully committed to bear 100 percent of the captive cost which has been budgeted at this moment at Rs 2,500 crore needed for the physical campus of the South Asian University," Akbar said while addressing the second convocation ceremony of the SAU

File image of Saarc summit. PTI

File image of Saarc summit. PTI

"Speed is essential because youth is impatient," he stated.

SAU is an international university established by the eight member states of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) — Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

The university, which started operation in 2010, is currently offering postgraduate and doctoral programmes in applied mathematics, biotechnology, computer science, economics, international relations, legal studies and sociology.

Currently functioning from the Akbar Bhawan campus, the university will eventually move to its 100-acre campus in south Delhi where construction is underway.

In Monday's convocation ceremony, degrees were conferred on nine M.Phil students and 185 Masters students while 11 students were awarded gold medals for their meritorious performance.

Stating that teachers remained the truly unsung heroes of civilisation, Akbar said the SAARC member states wanted to expand their regional horizons through knowledge.

"The mathematics of knowledge is unique. It is the only thing that increases and multiplies when you give it away," he said.

The Minister also said that applications for admission to SAU have increased manifold for the academic session 2017-18 and added that this was proof of endorsement by the students.

He said that while the 19th century was of dreams and struggles, the 20th century was of hope riddled with some amount of havoc and the 21st century is of fulfillment.

"The opposite of destruction shall be instruction," Akbar said. "Our region is entering an age of opportunity."

He said that freedom, youth and gender quality were the pillars of modernity.

"When we have social and economic empowerment, then only we can say that we are in the age of modernity," he said.

Stating that the SAARC region has the largest number of impoverished population, Akbar said: "You have to work to remove this curse of poverty."

Nepal's Ambassador to India Deep Kumar Upadhyay, who was the SAU Visitor's Nominee at the convocation ceremony, said South Asia has the passionate aspiration for deeper regional cooperation, the aspiration for connected minds and connected markets, the aspiration for shared prosperity of the region and its people.

"And this university has been built upon the bastion of those aspirations," Upadhyay said.

He said the students who were conferred degrees would leave the university with greater responsibility, to steer the process of South Asian development to the destination of shared prosperity, to use the opulence of wisdom and innovation to fight against the deprivation and under-development that is eating away the potentials of the region and to carry forth the message of peace, harmony and fraternity that have been the ethos of South Asia for ages.

SAU President Kavita Sharma said the second tender for the first five buildings of the university's permanent campus was awarded in 2016 and construction work was going on smoothly, while the third tender of seven buildings has been awarded."

"All efforts are being made to fast-track the construction work," she said."

"Once these two sets of buildings are completed, the university will be able to shift to the permanent campus. The first sets of buildings are expected to be ready by early 2019."

Updated Date: Jun 12, 2017 17:14 PM

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