India and Scotland

India and Scotland have a long history of friendship and co-operation. People from India have been coming to Scotland since before India’s independence in 1947. We welcome many more today. Scotland has one of the most thriving Asian communities in the world; food, the arts and religious diversification - Scotland has benefited enormously from links to India.

The Indian community is one of the largest and most vibrant diaspora groups. In the last census, over 23,000 people in Scotland identified India as their country of birth and many more have a shared heritage and identity between the two countries.

From academic, cultural and tourism exchanges to business and trade links, people in both Scotland and India benefit from a partnership enabling the exchange of knowledge, ideas and resources.

Educational Links

Currently 17 Scottish higher education institutes enjoy academic and research links with Indian universities and thousands of people from India choose to study in Scotland each year to further their career.

These partnerships often involve business links as well. The University of Dundee and the Bangalore BioCluster work together to discover new drugs and tackle antimicrobial resistance, and the Scottish Association for Marine Science works closely with Annamalai University and AMET University.

Educational links foster other relationships. In 2014 Edinburgh University’s India Institute welcomed Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson, Dr. Gopalkrishna Gandhi, to Scotland to deliver the inaugural ‘India Day’ lecture.

And did you know that Dr Marbai Ardesir Vakil from Mumbai was Glasgow University's first female Asian graduate in 1897?

Cultural Exchange

India and Scotland share many cultural links. Each year Edinburgh and Glasgow both hold annual Mela festivals. In return, Scots in India welcome all to their Burns Night celebrations.

There is a statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Saughton Park, Edinburgh, sculpted by Kirti Mandir (artist of Indian origin working in Ayreshire), which was unveiled by His Excellency Inder Kumar Gujral, Prime Minister of India, in 1997 (pictured to the right).

Scotland and India are always looking for ways to collaborate. Scottish music festival Celtic Connections and India’s Rajasthan International Folk Festival have a three-year reciprocal arrangement to explore each other’s culture and harmonies.

And it’s not just music that is shared – Scotland’s contemporary dance company, Scottish Dance Theatre, took the opportunity to work with schools in Chennai, Bangalore, Delhi and Kolkata while touring India, and Scotland’s other national performing companies make regular trips to India.

Every four years, Scottish and Indian athletes line up against each other in the Commonwealth Games. Friendly rivalries are an important part of the relationship between Scotland and India and back-to-back Commonwealth Games in Delhi and Glasgow offered a never before seen opportunity for the two countries to work together. This led to the relationship between Scotland and India celebrated in the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games cultural programme.

Between the Commonwealth Games, Scottish and India athletes compete in many other international events. This includes cricket, a growing sport in Scotland.

Scotland is also helping to preserve Indian heritage. The Historic Scotland’s Scottish Ten project digitally documented Rani ki Vav (the Queen’s Stepwell) in Gujarat. The 3D models were used in India’s successful bid for a UNESCO world heritage site.

Twenty three Indian films have been shot in Scotland, including the ground-breaking movies that kick-started the trend: screen legend Dev Anand's Main Solah Baras Ki (1998) (Sweet Sixteen) and Karan Johar’s Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998) (Something Happens in My Heart), which featured iconic landmarks including Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, Eilean Donan Castle in the Highlands and Crossraguel Abbey in Ayrshire.

Trade and Investment

India is an important investor in Scotland with 10 Indian companies having made investments of £700 million in the last five years, providing around 3,500 jobs. Scottish Development International (SDI) has had a presence in India since 2000. The offices in New Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad work to forge links between Scottish and Indian firms.

Sharing interests in key areas such as finance, education, energy and life sciences, Scotland and India are well placed to reap the benefits and opportunities of links as part of a better connected, globalised world.

Business, sport or pleasure - Scotland and India have a bright future together exploring new relationships and working together as global citizens.

Find out more about business opportunities in Scotland

More on Indian connections in Scottish culture