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Sir James Bevan made the pitch in a speech at Delhi University on 9 January – including the claim that the best Indian food in the world is being served in London.
His comments come against the background of fears that a tougher visa system is driving away foreign students from the country.
In 2011-12, the number of Indian students studying at UK universities was down by almost a quarter, while concerns have also been raised that the dramatic fall in the value of the rupee last summer will further deter Indians from studying abroad.
“Here’s something that will surprise you: visas are not a problem. Really,” Sir James told his audience.
“We want the world’s best and brightest, we have set no limit on the numbers of foreign students who can come to Britain. No limit. So if you are a genuine student with a place at a UK university, you will get your visa,” he added.
He extolled the cultural attractions of Britain, including James Bond, pop music and the British-designed Grand Theft Auto V, “the world’s best-selling game…which I have been known to play myself when I need some violent therapy”.
Sir James added: “Camellia Punjabi, who introduced regional Indian cuisine to the UK, said recently that the best Indian food in the world is now served in London.
“We want you. We in the UK want the world’s best and brightest to come and study in our country…there’s a global competition for the best and brightest: you students here are in that category. We want you in Britain,” he told the students.