Since 2003, LSE has been intensifying its institutional engagement with India still further, developing strong links with Indian academic institutions, government and corporate bodies to foster exchange of ideas and research, contribute to capacity building and contribute to the debate on broader policy issues.
The story of LSE and India starts with the School's foundation in 1895. As far back as 1912, an Indian was the first non-European president of the Students' Union.
Ralf Dahrendorf (1995) refers to the association between India and LSE as a story of soul mates. Through exchanges with government and academic initiatives, LSE has been more deeply entrenched in Indian life than a few highly visible names could achieve. In the words of a well-known Indian political leader, 'there is a vacant chair at every cabinet meeting in India reserved for the ghost of Professor Harold Laski'.
Among the many famous Indians who have passed through LSE, two of the most prominent are Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar, a founding father of the Indian constitution and a leader of the Dalit community in India and ex-President KR Narayanan. Nobel Laureate Professor Amartya Sen is an LSE Honorary Fellow. Former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh is an Honorary Fellow of the Asia Research Centre. Thus the LSE-India partnership has been sustained and strengthened over the years.
Dr IG Patel was the ninth Director of LSE from 1984-90. In 1999 Professor Anthony Giddens, then Director of LSE and author of The Third Way, delivered the BBC Reith lecture in Delhi. Former Director Howard Davies visited India in early 2004 when a memorandum of understanding was signed with the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) for collaborative activities and projects / knowledge-exchange programmes to facilitate interaction on new innovations in business practices. He also visited the then President of India Dr Abdul Kalam.