When international banker Joseph Fox ’38 endowed a global fellowship program at Yale in his name, he intended to improve relations between the United States and the former Soviet Union by fostering interaction between students in both countries. Now, in its namesake’s spirit of forging ties between Yale and scholars abroad, the Fox International Fellowship program will soon expand to India.

The FIF will expand to include India’s Jawaharlal Nehru University when Yale President Richard Levin travels to the nation this January with a University delegation. For Yale, expanding relations with the world’s second most-populous nation is a timely endeavor because of India’s rapidly growing economy and science industries, officials said.

“It seems like an important country to have some connection to,” Levin said.

JNU, located in India’s capital city of New Delhi, will become the FIF’s eighth partner university once Levin signs an agreement in January, joining schools in Russia, China, Japan, Mexico, Germany, England and France. Fox and other program officials said they hope to include a Muslim university from either Turkey or Lebanon within the next few years. But heightened wartime security measures provide an impediment for immediate expansion into the Middle East, said Larisa Satara, fellowships coordinator at the Yale Center for International and Area Studies.

George Joseph, Yale’s assistant secretary for international affairs, said India is growing in prominence internationally as well as on the Yale campus.

“The faculty and their interests really dictate where we focus our interests,” Joseph said. “There’s been a growing interest in this region of the world, so that’s why we’re focusing on India.”

JNU has partnered with 56 other universities around the world since 1998, JNU Academic Coordinator Chandra Sekaren said.

“We are excited we are going to work together,” Sekaren said in a telephone interview from New Dehli. “I mean, internationally, everybody is coming to JNU.”

Fox said the underlying mission of FIF — which now supports about 25 fellows annually — is to contribute to peace and stability in the world through the education of young scholars. FIF sends some Yale students to the partner universities and supports students from them to visit Yale, all in the name of promoting international awareness.

“In today’s world, young men and women have got to be interested in the international world,” Fox said. “This is the direction in which we are moving.”

The fellowships are limited to students studying law, economics, political science and international relations. After consulting with other universities in India, Yale officials said they chose to partner with JNU because of its strong curriculum in the social sciences and contemporary history, said Yale economics professor T. N. Srinivasan, chairman of the South Asian Studies Council.

Many Indian foreign affairs experts have graduated from JNU, Satara said.

“It’s a very promising and up and coming university,” Satara said.

Satara said she anticipated many students to apply for the fellowship in India because students do not need to master a foreign language to study in India, where locals speak English.

Josip Glaurdic GRD ’07, who is studying political science at Cambridge University in England through the FIF, said he thought it was “absolutely necessary” for the fellowship to expand to include India.

“I know that there are dozens of students in my department alone who would be thrilled to spend time in India,” Glaurdic said.

During Levin’s January trip to India, Yale officials will meet with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Secretary Rakesh Mohan ’71, as well as alumni representatives from throughout the nation.