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UK plans to vet Indian students

London, August 4
In its effort to tighten the screw on terror suspects, the UK plans to introduce from next month a new security vetting scheme for all non-EU students, including those from India, who want to study in UK universities in specialised areas such as biochemistry and nuclear physics.

It is called the Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) and is part of the UK’s wider security efforts to ensure that knowledge in universities here is not misused in the backdrop of concerns over proliferation and terrorism.

The “proliferation-risk” subject areas that will be closely monitored for foreign PhD students include biochemistry, electrical engineering, nuclear physics, microbiology, chemical engineering, aeronautical dynamics and material sciences. A number of Indian students have been coming to the UK to study in these areas.

Neil Kernohan of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said today that the scheme would essentially target a small number of PhD students who enrol here to pursue research in selected subject areas. Before applying for a student visa, they would first need to obtain a “certificate of approval” after going through the new IT-based security system. — PTI

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