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Eager pupils landing in India, hoping to make the most of their Urdu skills, might run into a bit of trouble. Urdu is the national language of Pakistan, and India and Pakistan have been two countries since 1947.

Given education secretary Alan Johnson's desire to focus on "economically useful" languages, pupils might be better off with Hindi, used by more people than any other language except Mandarin: it has around 480 million speakers in India alone.

Still, would-be entrepreneurs can console themselves with the thought that most of India's business and technology sector operates in a language they will understand: English.

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