Labour MP Jon Ashworth says the Government's immigration policies are 'undermining our universities'.
When Gandhi made his famous visit to the mill towns of Lancashire 82 years ago, the message he delivered and the welcome he received said something important about the changing relationship between the British and Indian peoples.
There was a recognition that a relationship founded on one-sided colonial exploitation and subjugation could only survive in the future if re-shaped around equality, respect and reciprocal benefits.
Of course, Gandhi then received an entirely different reaction from his government hosts in London, only interested in stringing out the status quo in India for as long as possible, and perpetuating a relationship based around Britain taking and India giving.
As the present-day Prime Minister begins his tour of India, we have to ask ourselves what kind of relationship he is offering to India today: a journey of equals towards shared economic prosperity, or simply the old one way street?
Some of his early rhetoric is promising. He encourages Indian students to come and study in the UK, telling prospective students that Britain will be "incredibly welcoming". He told his audience that "if you can get a graduate-level job there is no limit to the amount of people who can stay and work, or the time that they can stay at work."
So far so good, but dig beneath the rhetoric and the promise fades. While the Prime Minister is trying to woo Indian students to come here, his Home Secretary Theresa May continues to insist on an immigration cap that is severely undermining the UK's efforts to attract international students to these shores.
Tory immigration policies are already undermining our universities. In 2011 - 2012, the UK saw the number of Indian students compared with the previous year fall by almost a quarter. In my constituency, the University of Leicester has seen a significant downturn in interest from Indian students. Between 2010 and 2011, their Indian student registrations deceased by a third; between 2011 and 2012, there was a further 40 per cent decrease.
And yet, undoubtedly, more and more Indian students do want to study abroad. In 2007, there were 156,000 Indian students enrolled in higher education courses abroad; in 2009, that rose to 197,000. Britain should be challenging the United States to be the top destination for those students, not suffering falling numbers and worried about staying second.
There are three reasons that it is in Britain's national interest:
First, given that India is a rising global power, seeing an average economic growth of 8 per cent per year, it is clearly in our interests to maintain and strengthen the deepest economic and diplomatic ties with them, and show that this is a relationship we prize.
Second, at a time when our economy is struggling and exports of services are weakening, the ability to attract foreign students to these shores is vital source of growth. Our Higher Education sector is currently estimated to be our 7th biggest export, worth around £8 billion to the UK economy.
Third, we know not just that international students contribute massively to the life of towns and cities like Leicester when they are here, but when they return, they maintain ties which continue to benefit the UK economically, culturally and diplomatically.
British universities have already played a crucial role in shaping the Indian nation, with strong traditions between our countries of intellectual exchange and ideological compatibility.
Gandhi and Nehru along with other key Independence leaders were educated at British universities and India's current Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, was educated at Oxford. The education they received here helped influence the shaping of the world's largest democracy.
David Cameron likes to talk of being in a global race so hopefully he appreciates the extent to which global competition for students is already intense. With Australia, Canada and the US courting those students whose first choice would once have been the UK, can we confidently predict that the future leaders of India will have spent time studying in UK Universities?
We cannot simply point to Britain's historic links with India, and assume that this will guarantee the strength of our future ties, or think that trade deals are an adequate substitute by themselves for the much deeper cultural, diplomatic and personal relationships that have traditionally existed between our countries.
It's no use this week David Cameron telling Indians one thing in Mumbai or Delhi, while his Home Secretary instructs the UK Borders Agency to do another. Maybe if our Prime Minister made a genuine commitment to changing immigration policy, I'd be more convinced by his efforts. Until then, this visit to India will just be an attempt to reap the benefits of Indian economic growth, without giving anything in return.
Jon Ashworth is the Labour MP for Leicester South and an Opposition Whip