Certain bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees earned by Indian students will now be treated on par with degrees earned in the UK, making them eligible for employment in that country.

The two parties signed an MoU on Thursday outlining the Indian Senior Secondary School/Pre-University Certificates that will be accepted for enrollment at UK higher education institutions. The Bachelor's, Master's, and Doctoral degrees from India and the UK will also be regarded as being equivalent to one another.

Although the MoU does not cover professional degrees in medical, engineering, architecture, or pharmacy, commerce secretary BVR Subrahmanyam stated that New Delhi will negotiate for their inclusion in the free trade deal, which is anticipated to be finalised by August 31 and signed by Diwali.

"Starting today, UK degrees will be accepted as being on par with Indian degrees. You can enrol there, and if you do, you'll be qualified to work here... This covers 90% of the graduates," Subrahmanyam told the press, adding that bachelor's and master's degrees in science (BSc, MSc) and arts (BA, MA) would be treated equally in India. The MoU also applies to degrees earned through online study.

The MoU calls for the mutual recognition of academic credentials and length of study by students enrolled in legally recognised higher education institutions in the two nations.

"The agreement will accelerate the negotiations. It is an indication from their end that despite the political unrest, things are moving forward, he said.

According to the secretary, the fifth round of the free trade agreement between India and the UK started on Monday and will last till July 29.

We would have finished 17 or 18 of the 26 chapters by the time this round was through. There is no longer a need for rounds, he added, and for the remaining ones, "there will be 31 rounds in 31 days," much as in August, when the parties will negotiate every day.

"By the 15th of August, I plan to have it finished, plus additional 15 days for cleaning, scrubbing, and legal review. By August 31 we will be prepared, and by September their prime minister will be as well, he said, adding that the UK has informed India that there is broad support for the FTA regardless of who becomes prime minister.

Additionally, India is aiming to open up its market to more British products like apples, machinery, medical devices, and legal services. On the other hand, New Delhi requests a totalization agreement or easier access for its exports of marine products.

Nursing and maritime MoU

In order to increase short-term bilateral mobility and assure mutual recognition of qualifications, India and the UK signed two MoUs on mutual recognition of educational qualifications, particularly nautical education, and a Framework Agreement on health care work force.

The promises made by both sides under the Enhanced Trade Partnership (ETP) include these agreements.

The MoU on maritime education qualifications will pave the way for the two governments to reciprocally recognise the maritime education and training certificates, competency certificates, and endorsements of seafarers issued by each other, making them eligible for employment on ships of either party.

This is significant because, even though there are only 7 percent of Indian ships overall, 12 percent of all sailors worldwide are Indian. The administration wants to double the percentage of sailors to 20%.

Similar to this, a Framework Agreement on Healthcare Workforce will make it easier for the UK to quickly hire and train nurses and AHPs from India.

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