From The Chronicle of Higher Ed. News Blog posted by Andrew Mytelka May 28 2008:

New Delhi — India has asked Britain for help in setting up a world-class central university in what one local newspaper reported is the first such request for foreign assistance in almost 50 years. India has not asked for foreign help to establish a university since it sought assistance in the late 1950s and early 1960s from the Soviet Union, Britain, and West Germany to create some of the older Indian Institutes of Technology, the newspaper, The Telegraph, said.

Last year India’s prime minister announced that the country would set up 14 world-class central universities to compete with institutions like Harvard and Cambridge. The locations of the universities were announced in March.

“We want the help in the form of skill development, faculty support, and necessary training,” said D. Purandeswari, India’s junior higher-education minister, according to a statement issued after meetings this week with Bill Rammell, Britain’s higher-education minister.

Indian officials were looking to settle details of the collaboration as soon as possible because the new academic session in India starts in July, but Mr. Rammell did not commit to any timeline. Further talks to iron out the details are scheduled to be held in July in London. —Shailaja Neelakantan