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Britain rattled by Macron wooing Indian students

Press Trust of India  |  London 

The seemed rattled by the visit of French with UK Johnson clashing with him on over Indian students being lured by both nations.

During an address in on Saturday, the French offered up as the new gateway to for Indian students against the backdrop of Britain's exit from the EU.

We are at the beginning of a new momentum between and I want to double the number of Indian students coming to If you choose France you gain access to francophonie, you gain access to Europe, said messages from Macron's official account.

In a direct reply, Johnson tweeted back: We are proud too to have more than 14,000 Indian students coming to the UK in 2017 up a quarter over last year choosing the home of the greatest universities, including four of the global top ten.

He concluded his message with the tag #EducationIsGreatInEnglish.

The clash reflects the UK's obvious attempt to hold on to its attraction for international students post-Brexit.

According to official estimates, overseas students contribute around 25 billion pounds a year to the UK economy and support about 200,000 jobs in the country.

The number of Indian students choosing British universities has been on the decline in recent years due to a perceived unwelcome visa regime, though last year's figures came as some relief for the

The number of study visas granted to Indians in 2017 amounted to 14,445, the second-largest after the Chinese. The figure marked a 28 per cent hike in student visas granted to Indians compared to the previous year.

There are growing calls from universities for overseas students to be removed from the government's annual migration target for them to be able to attract larger numbers of what they believe are essentially temporary migrants who have a lot to offer the economy.

The treating of students as immigrants leads to negative perceptions in of the UK's restrictive visa regime. There is no justification for seeking to reduce numbers of international students, said Lord Karan Bilimoria, Indian-origin entrepreneur and of the

Macron, meanwhile, has been making a direct play for these temporary migrants along with clinching deals worth an estimated 13-billion euros between French and Indian companies during his India tour.

He has been touting France as the entry point to in a direct challenge to Britain, which until Brexit had pegged itself as the gateway to for Indian companies.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, March 12 2018. 21:15 IST